IF I HAD A DOLLAR for every time that I was asked the question: “Why don’t we see more solar in Arizona?” I would be a rich man today. But I’m happy to say, that question is riding into the Arizona sunset. As you can see from the variety of solar energy companies, products, and services in this edition of Green Living Magazine, solar energy is alive in Arizona.
As a result of the state and federal tax benefits and solar programs initiated by Arizona utilities, due to the Arizona Corporation Commission’s Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST), most Arizonans now have the opportunity to install cost-effective solar energy systems on their homes and businesses.
The dreaded Arizona summertime utility bill can now be tamed with solar energy. The installation of solar electric (PV) systems and solar water heating systems can create the energy needed to run today’s homes and businesses. Greater use of energy efficiency and passive solar design can also reduce the demand for energy in new buildings. We are even seeing the construction of net-zero energy homes by some Arizona builders. In the past, this has been a dream, but it is now becoming a reality.
Solar energy also provides a variety of benefits to Arizona. When you install a photovoltaic or solar water heating system, you are not just saving on your energy bill-you are creating clean, renewable energy that improves our air quality and helps improve Arizona’s economy. During the recent economic downturn, Arizona’s solar industry has created jobs. In fact, the growing market for solar energy systems has been a major factor in the decision by solar and renewable energy manufacturing companies to relocate in Arizona.
The money that you save on your utility bill is also an economic plus for our state. You are keeping some of the many billions of dollars that flow out of Arizona in energy costs in our local economy. A dollar saved on energy, and spent locally, has a significantly greater impact on Arizona’s economy than a dollar sent to the local utility.
I urge you to take a look at what solar energy can do for you. Investigate the installation of a PV and/or solar water heating system, but make sure that you choose wisely. Obtain at least three estimates, check references, and verify the status of contractors licenses with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Treat installing solar like any other home improvement and do your “due diligence” to insure that you are using a qualified contractor.
Greater use of solar energy is a win-win situation for everyone. Lower utility bills, cleaner air, and a better economy. What else could you ask for?Michael Neary
Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association