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Solar Energy Flexes its Muscles in Arizona

Solar energy advocates stall Arizona legislation that would have stalled clean energy investmentIt ain’t over yet, but it seems that solar energy advocates in Arizona have managed to stall legislation that would have stalled clean energy investment in the state. Representative Debbie Lesko (R-9), the primary sponsor of the HB (House Bill) 2701, withdrew her support after hearing from individuals, groups and businesses including green jobs advocate Az4Solar, solar manufacturer SunTech, and solar installer SolarCity.

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As reported by Eric Wesoff of greentechmedia.com, HB 2701 will count nuclear energy as a renewable source.  That would fulfill Arizona’s renewable energy pledge because the state already gets about 25% of its power from nukes.  In turn, that would put the kibosh on incentives for new solar installation and other forms of genuinely renewable energy in Arizona – which in turn would throw cold water on the growth of green jobs in Arizona.  And that would be quite a letdown for a state that’s poised to lead the U.S. out of the fossil fuel dark ages and into a sustainable clean energy future.

Arizona and Solar Energy

Arizona has become a a solar industry leader not only due to itsby forging strong relationships with top clean energy companies like SunTech and Kyocera. As Wesoff reports, Arizona utility APS also came out against HB 2701, which puts it squarely in line with the swelling ranks of utilities and energy companies that are supporting clean energy.  Among those are the Michigan utility DTE Energy, which sponsors the Clean Energy Prize, and global clean energy giant Veolia Environment which has just launched the Veolia Innovation Accelerator.

Fossil Fuels vs. Clean Energy – Follow the Money

The world of commerce being the shark tank that it is, it should be no surprise that fossil fuel companies and their supporters are fighting tooth and nail to prevent subsidies and incentives for competing forms of energy.  Obviously, that includes trying to block new climate regulations or climate related legislation that favors clean (and genuinely renewable) energy.  However, momentum is clearly growing on the clean energy side.  As more clean energy companies grow, they become important employers and contributors to the tax base.  SolarCity, for example, is not a small local installer.  It works with the solar group purchasing company One Block Off the Grid (which is also affiliated with this blog, cleantechnica.com).  The company has been starting up new solar installations hand over fist nationwide.  One of its latest projects is a stab deep in the heart of fossil fuel territory, a partnership with TXU Energy that will give the Texas utility’s two million customers access to low cost solar energy installations for individual homes.

More solar energy facts and solar diagrams.

Image: Weight Lifter by Alex Cheek on flickr.com.

Update: A reference to Altus Air Force Base has been deleted from this post (the base is located in Oklahoma).

 
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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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