Arizona: #3 in Solar Energy Production 1

Arizona has solidified its reputation as a world leader in solar energy, with a recent report indicating how robust the solar market is in the state.

According to the 2011 U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, Arizona ranks third in the nation in terms of solar system installation, which was announced recently by Governor Jan Brewer. The state’s energy production from photovoltaic systems increased from 63 to 273 megawatts between 2010 and 2011, which is a 333 percent rate of growth.

Arizona now only trails California and New Jersey in megawatt production, and the SEIA report projected that Arizona will increase its solar installations to jump into second place nationally this year.

California was recently announced as the top solar energy producer, doubling its solar installations over the past year. The state set a goal to have most of its energy come from green energy resources within several years, and with the recent announcement, most experts feel that the goal is not too far-fetched.

“After a record-breaking 2011, the U.S. has proved itself as a viable market for solar on a global scale,” said the executive summary of the report. “In 2011, the U.S. market’s share of global (photovoltaic) installations rose from 5 percent to 7 percent and should continue to grow. We forecast U.S. market share to increase steadily over the next five years, ultimately reaching nearly 15 percent in 2016.”

Nationally, solar energy production from photovoltaic installations increased 109 percent in 2011, according to the report. The residential, non-residential and utility markets all saw growth, and project finance investments reached an all-time high, totalling $8.4 billion worth of photovoltaic systems installed in 2011 alone.

The growth of the solar market is also creating jobs for the people of Arizona. The Grand Canyon State ranked third nationally in 2011, with 4,800 jobs in the solar energy field, according to the National Solar Jobs Census, which was issued in October by The Solar Foundation.

“This report illustrates why Arizona has earned the title of ‘Solar King,’” said Brewer, speaking of the recent SEIA document. “With our abundant sunshine, renewable-energy tax incentives and trained workforce, it’s no surprise solar energy production is soaring in Arizona.”

The Arizona Public Service recently announced it will be building a 35-megawatt solar system in Yuma County, which will provide enough electricity to power 8,750 homes.

Arizona also offers a significant number of rebates for residents and businesses interested in solar energy. With more than 300 sunny days a year, Arizona has become one of the premiere destinations in the United States for rooftop solar installations. Among the rebates and programs available for Arizona residents and businesses are the EPS Energy Purchase Credit Purchase, which provides a one-time credit of $2 per rated watt of DC electricity to qualified applicants for the purchase and installation of photovoltaic systems, and the Solar Water Heating Program, which provides a one-time credit of $350 on new solar water heating systems. In addition to the many state programs, federal incentives are also offered to encourage residents to invest in solar array systems.

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