Arizona jumps to second on solar installation list for 2Q; Governor says the news is ‘fantastic’

By Patrick O’Grady

Phoenix Business Journal

Solar Panel installation on a Scottsdale, Arizona home

Arizona finally placed ahead of New Jersey in terms of solar installations in the second quarter as utility-scale operations drove the state to second place in the U.S.

The U.S. Solar Market Insight Report for the quarter from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research showed Arizona installed 172.7 megawatts of solar power, trailing only California, which installed 216.9 megawatts.

Arizona consistently has been coming in third place in the quarterly reports behind both California and New Jersey. The report shows how much solar power is being installed around the country.

The state’s jump was impressive over the first quarter, when installations amounted to 63 megawatts, marking a 174 percent increase.

Much of the increase was driven by utility installations, which accounted for the vast majority of installed power in Arizona during the quarter.

“The residential market tends to grow more incrementally while the utility market grows in bunches,” said Tom Kimbis, vice president of strategy and external affairs for SEIA.

Arizona installations were aided by work at the Agua Caliente power plant near Yuma, owned by NRG Solar and MidAmerican Solar and being worked on by Tempe-based First Solar Inc., and Mesquite Solar, a project owned by Sempra Generation.



NEWS RELEASE:  Governor Jan Brewer today announced that Arizona ranks second nationally in terms of solar system installation. That’s according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) report, “US Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2012.”

With an increase in photovoltaic (PV) system installations over the past quarter – specifically, an impressive jump from 63 megawatts to 173 megawatts since the SEIA’s March report – Arizona has edged out New Jersey to become the nation’s second largest producer of renewable energy. Arizona climbed one spot in the SEIA national rankings since the first quarter of 2012, and now trails only California in terms of solar megawatt production.

“This is fantastic news, and further illustrates how Arizona has become a national leader in the development of solar power,” said Governor Brewer. “This means not only clean, renewable energy, but also quality jobs for Arizonans. I am thrilled to see our great State at the forefront of this promising industry, and I look forward to Arizona further establishing itself as our nation’s Solar Capital.”

Nationally, photovoltaic installations have boomed, increasing 45% since March and 116% in the last year. Growth was particularly strong in terms of utility installations, as more than 20 projects were completed nationwide. In fact, according to the SEIA, this quarter was the most productive in the history of the U.S. market for utility installations – an achievement greatly credited to Arizona’s very own Agua Caliente and Mesquite solar projects.

“Particularly in Arizona, where we are fortunate to enjoy an abundance of sunshine year-round, the success of this industry is a key asset to our economy,” said Governor Brewer. “Not only does solar energy reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it also creates high-paying jobs for thousands of Arizonans.”

In 2011, the State ranked 3rd-nationally with nearly 4,800 jobs in the solar energy field, according to the National Solar Jobs Census, issued in October by The Solar Foundation.

The full SEIA report can be viewed here:

First Solar power plant hits 250 megawatt milestone/Phoenix Business Journal

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September 2012