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State report touts solar energy's bright future

Jan 20, 2007 Tribune Business News

Arizona could generate up to 1,000 megawatts of solar electricity and create 3,000 jobs by 2020 by supporting solar-energy technologies and boosting the state's solar-electric industry, a state report says.

The Arizona Solar Electric Roadmap Study, released Friday by the Arizona Department of Commerce, also estimates that boosting solar power could cut emissions by 400,000 tons per year.

The study calls on the public and private sectors to launch several initiatives to accelerate the adoption of solar power.

"New approaches to energy efficiency and the development of the state's clean-energy resources will create good, high-wage jobs for Arizonans," said Arizona Department of Commerce Director Jan Lesher.

More than $6 billion out of the more than $10 billion that Arizonans spend on energy annually goes out of state, the Commerce Department said.

Among the report's other findings and recommendations:

--Total solar deployment could exceed 2,600 megawatts in an accelerated scenario, with rooftop photovoltaic installations accounting for about 45 percent of the capacity.

A megawatt, or 1 million watts, of generating capacity is enough to supply about 1,000 Tucson homes.

--Surcharges from the state's recently adopted renewable-energy standard are expected to generate more than $50 million a year for development of renewable energy sources. The standard requires state-regulated utilities to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025.

--The state should development a "center of excellence" for solar research and development, capitalizing on research strengths at the state's universities.

View the Arizona Solar Electric Roadmap Study at Energy/continue to drop.


Updated: 2003/07/28