Could Take Time for Arizona to Go Solar

California is leading the way for solar panels to become standard in new construction.  A recent 5-0 vote by California’s Energy Commission requires all new homes and low-rise apartment buildings to have solar panels.  The cost of installing solar panels averages out to $40/month over a 30-year mortgage, but is estimated to save home owners $80/month on utilities.  This new measure is just one more step in California’s journey toward residences creating as much energy as they use.

While everyone agrees that California’s initiative is good for the environment, and sets a strong example for Arizona, it may take some time to see a similar measure enacted in Arizona.  There are many stake holders whose opinions must be considered.  These include the utility companies, home builders, and the state legislature.  Traditionally, Arizona law makers favor the consumer’s ability to have choices rather than for lawmakers to dictate a regulation.

Many Arizona homeowners are choosing to harness the powerful sun’s energy for their own use even without regulation.  Electric companies are required to get 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025.  5% must come from solar panels on homes and businesses.  This quota is already being met and exceeded because so many residents have installed solar panels on their homes already. 

To make the best use of solar energy, buildings with solar panels must also have batteries to store the excess energy for use when the sun goes down.  Currently the demand on the power grid goes up dramatically in the evening hours when solar panels are not producing energy.  Some new housing developments are automatically installing batteries with solar panels on homes so that consumers are only paying for energy they aren’t generating themselves. 

With or without legislation, solar power seems to be here to stay in Arizona.  Home owners see the benefit in reduced utility bills.  Solar power is good for the environment as well as it reduces pollution, resulting in a win-win for consumers and the earth.

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