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Arizona continues push to become solar energy capital

(Photo: U.S. Air Force)

PHOENIX -- Business leaders, community leaders, students, solar industry representatives will gather at Arizona State University's SkySong Tuesday and Wednesday for Arizona Solar Summit III.

Former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes is with ASU and said most Arizonans believe solar energy represents our economic destiny in many ways.

"We have more sun here than any other state in the country and probably any other place on the planet. Arizona trails only California when it comes to solar development and the top spot is in reach," Mayes said.

"In the past decade we've developed great policies like the renewable energy standard to have utilities produce more energy from solar. More people and businesses have put solar panels on the rooftops."

Arizona still imported some of its energy in 2010 and Mayes said that is money that could be kept in-state and used to create new jobs and projects like the Solana Project near Gila Bend are what Arizona needs to reduce reliance on imported energy.

That facility is expected to create up to 1,700 construction jobs and 85 permanent jobs.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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