$710K Awarded to Arizona to Accelerate and Expand Growth of Solar

The State of Arizona has already been identified as one of the pioneers of the solar movement, and the state with the most potential for solar power.  Solar in Arizona has caught the attention of people nationwide, and each installation and dollar of funding brings Arizona closer to the summit of the solar industry. Jan Brewer recently announced that Arizona was going to receive $710,000 in grant money to accelerate and expand solar in the Valley.

Photo Credit: Solar Energy Fact 

This funding, provided by the Department of Energy, was part of the SunShot Initiative, which was created with a goal of making solar a tough competitor of traditional forms of energy  by reducing costs and expanding its application.

A total of $12 million was awarded to 22 teams across the country, each of whom will be using the money to finance the growth of residential and commercial solar. The Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy team was comprised of several partners, including ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS), the City of Phoenix, the City of Flagstaff, the City of Tucson, and SmartPower.  The State of Arizona plans on using this grant to identify and improve issues related to zoning, finance, and permits. The team has high hopes of improving solar power in the state and getting Arizona residents to support solar and realize the benefits from doing so.

Harvey Bryan, an architecture professor at Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU, believes that “This grant will help impact the cost and rate of uptake of solar installations in Arizona…We are focused on solving key challenges associated with the reduction of the non-module cost of installing solar energy systems such as: permitting, financing, interconnection, as well as planning and zoning.” Bryan also plays a role in ASU Lightworks, a multidisciplinary effort to leverage ASU's unique strengths, particularly in renewable energy fields including artificial photosynthesis, biofuels, and next-generation photovoltaics.

Over the past few years, Arizona has made a strong effort to push solar for both businesses and the community. Solar installations are on the rise and more and more residents are beginning to understand the impact that solar can have on our lives.

During a press conference, Governor Jan Brewer states that “Arizona is at the forefront of solar-energy development and expansion, and has even been dubbed the ‘Solar King’”. She goes on to say “This grant will be instrumental in making installation of solar panels faster, easier and less expensive for Arizona homeowners and businesses. As solar energy becomes more cost-efficient and widespread, Arizona is ready to capitalize on the quality jobs created by this promising industry.”

And a promising industry, it is. In 2011, Arizona ranked 3rd in the country for the amount of solar jobs, according to the National Solar Jobs Census. This is a five spot hike from the previous year, and this sun-wealthy state shows no signs of slowing down.

To learn more about the SunShot Initiative, visit the website.

Written by Tynnisha Hamilton, ASU LightWorks