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Updated Apr 11, 2014 - 9:30 am

Phoenix shining for solar installation progress

PHOENIX -- Phoenix was ranked third among major U.S. cities for the amount of solar installed by the Environment Arizona Research and Policy Group.

It released the findings Thursday in their newest report, "Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America's Solar Energy Revolution."

"It shows the city has made a lot of progress on solar energy," said Bret Fanshaw, an advocate with Environment Arizona and the Environment Arizona Research and Policy Center. "It's a no-brainer that Phoenix, being at the heart of the Valley of the Sun, should rank in the top cities for solar."

The report highlighted some of the benefits of solar energy including the impact solar has on pollution. It stated pollution-free energy from the sun reduces air pollution, a contributing factor in smog and global warming.

Another positive impact of solar energy, according to the report, is on the economy. Arizona has 8,558 solar jobs which place as the second-highest in the U.S.

In February, the Solar Foundation also placed Arizona in the second spot in the nation for the state's number of solar jobs, trailing only California.

"Leaders in Arizona from both party affiliations think solar is important," said Fanshaw.

However, he warned of possible challenges arising for the solar industry.

"Installations are down 40 percent this year."

The Environment Arizona Research and Policy Group called for city leaders to set ambitious goals for residents and businesses to expand the use of solar energy. As an example, the group wants to see more solar panels on public buildings, such as the Phoenix Public Library and downtown parking garages.

Other suggestions from the group include partnerships with the federal government to ensure tax incentives continue. The group praised Arizona's renewable energy standard of 15 percent by 2025 which has played a role in the success of solar in Phoenix.

"It's exciting to see Phoenix to rank so highly among solar cities in the country," Fanshaw added. "We need to continue to build on that progress and not go backward."

Topping the report was Los Angeles, with a cumulative solar PV capacity of 132 megawatts. Following was San Diego, Calif. with 107 megawatts. Phoenix came in third with 96.

About the Author

Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.


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