A small group of people with the Yavapai (Near the Grand Canyon) planning and zoning commission have been fighting the good fight, recommending solar projects in the desert.
Approving solar projects in the desert! “It must be a liberal plot to sell out America” the nay sayers are shouting! Truth is, solar is a capitalistic plot to turn the power of the sun into a saleable commodity. That is as American as apple pie. The sun is an equal opportunity energy source. Solar energy shines on America with unlimited access, unlike oil, which is vulnerable to politically driven interruptions and supposedly market-driven price fluctuations.
Remember the old adage: If you believe one person alone can have no effect, consider the effect a single mosquito can have in a room at night. Clarity of vision and passion for good ideas among a small group of people is the only thing that has ever created change.
Prescott and Chino Valley got some news this past week that forecasts another viable economic base for the future. The state’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service, and Sun Edison, a leader in solar power delivery, announced plans to build two solar farms with thousands of photovoltaic panels in this area next year.
Sun Edison has already begun a 43,000 solar panel farm that will sit on 120 acres a short distance from Prescott Airport. This project is expected to be up and running in 2011.
In early 2012, APS and Sun Edison will partner in a solar farm in Chino Valley that they hope to complete later that year.
These projects will combine with those operating now APS custom built solar farms at Prescott College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the airport.
The Prescott area stands among the first commercial solar power plant installation. The first was APS’s solar photovoltaic plant in Flagstaff in 1997. Scottsdale was next in 1999 when it covered an 8,500-square-foot parking lot with solar panels that not only provide shade but also generate solar power. The next were APS solar plants at ERAU and the Prescott Airport in 2001 and 2002, respectively.
Yuma County’s looking up at the sun for power, too. The Agua Caliente solar plant is under construction on private land near Dateland, and APS plans to build a solar plant near Hyder. Three more proposals for solar projects on federal land in Yuma County are on the drawing board.
Undoubtedly, the solar power concept is catching on across the state, but it’s gratifying to see that Yavapai County is in the forefront.
Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Kris Mayes said the new plans for solar that were unveiled Friday definitely “move the ball forward in Arizona” and that these renewable solar energy projects send “a very strong signal to the rest of the world that Arizona is serious about solar energy.”
More than that, Mayes said, “It seems like Yavapai County is becoming a mecca for solar energy.”
The sun shines on the Southwest nearly three-quarters of the year, and the sunny weather has attracted new residents and tourists for generations. Now that momentum builds even more toward solar harnessing the sun for its energy, Arizona, California and the rest of the country should bask in it. Embrace solar energy and lets move America forward.
Source; Daily Courier