Thursday, February 28, 2008

AZ: The Persian Gulf of Solar Energy

Today I read an article on CNN about a solar plant in AZ in the early stages of production. A company called Abengoa Solar, which has plants in Spain, northern Africa and other parts of the U.S, plans to build a 280 MW plant outside of Phoenix. Instead of photovoltaics, this plant plans to use the solar thermal approach. This makes sense because from class we learned that PV technology is currently much more expensive and efficiency is not all that great. The company is unfortunately holding its breath, waiting for the extension of the federal solar investment tax credit.

I like any article I see about solar or wind energy. Especially when it's my home state (Maybe someday we can challenge TX in a solar vs. wind battle for renewable energy supremacy) You really can't go wrong. Hopefully congress gets its act together and extends these important tax credits on renewable energy. They are currently held up on whether we should tax American oil (see Rob Petter to pay Paul). Maybe they should first pass the important uncontroversial items in one bill and then debate the controversial items. At least that way we can move forward.

1 comment:

Stephanie Freeman said...

I'm so glad to hear about this project in AZ. It's also my home state (Peoria - Westside!) and I always wondered why solar was not more widespread in the Grand Canyon State. I always assumed since we had Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (PVNGS) to supply as much power as needed to Phoenix, we didn't press the issue as much.

I also think it is really good to see that APS (Arizona Public Service) is involved since they also operate PVNGS. It seems that at least some organizations are interested in renewable power in AZ. I know that APS has operated numerous solar test facilities, like the STAR center ( and seem well positioned to develop solar power.

It's also good to see that Arizona has rewnewable energy standards like the big guys (TX, CA, etc). In AZ the obvious choice is solar and it seems like they are trying to develop it. AZ also has a lot of incentives for individuals to install solar heaters, solar water heaters, or solar driven electricity generators like Austin. APS, I know for sure, allows their customers to sell electricity back to the grid.

I like that good ole Janet is recognizing AZ's potential and I think the Persian Gulf of solar energy is a fitting title.