July 23, 2011

Phoenix will sell solar-generated electricity to APS

In the next 18 months, Phoenix plans to generate 12 megawatts of solar energy, or enough to power about 2,400 homes.

The City Council recently approved an agreement with Arizona Public Service Co. to streamline the process of selling solar power generated on city properties to the utility.

The growth in solar projects is fueled, in part, by federal stimulus funds, city leaders' support of alternative energy and nearly a dozen qualified companies that can design, build, own or maintain solar systems installed on city buildings, parking garages, parks, landfills and other sites.

Phoenix has a long history of using alternative-energy sources, said Carolyn Bristo, sustainability officer and acting public works director. The city adopted a policy goal of having 15 percent of Phoenix's energy coming from renewable resources by 2025 but now generates less than 1 megawatt of energy from solar.

Bristo said a city committee identified facilities and locations where solar makes sense.

"We're breaking new ground," Bristo said. "We're being innovative and creative. The bottom line is we're saving money and energy for the taxpayer and user. And we're generating jobs."

At a recent town hall meeting, Councilman Tom Simplot touted the Energize Phoenix Corridor, where homes and businesses in an area along the light-rail route qualify for energy-efficient upgrades.

A $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is funding much of the work.

The $1.3 million SolarWing canopy project, under construction on the north side of Burton Barr Central Library, is one example of the city "leading by example," Simplot said.

The canopies and photovoltaic panels will offer night lighting and day shade for 84 parking stalls.

Bristo said the city could never generate enough "rooftop power" to cover its energy requirements, but each project supplements what the city uses.

by Sadie Jo Smokey The Arizona Republic Jul. 22, 2011 02:09 PM

Phoenix will sell solar-generated electricity to APS

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