Tucson, Arizona, To Receive U.S. Department of Energy Grant For Solar Energy Projects

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U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Welcomes Federal Funding for "One Stop" Solar Shop

Solar energy is already an important growth industry for Tucson and will make significant contributions to meeting the region's energy needs in the coming years. Already, the region employs over 2,000 people in the solar industry, contributing a total annual economic impact of $402.7 million to the greater Tucson economy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the City of Tucson, Ariz., was awarded $389,000 to support phase two of its solar initiative. One of 25 cities designated as a Solar America City by the DOE, Tucson currently has solar photovoltaic panels at 14 locations, providing 1.1 megawatts of power.

"Solar energy is already an important growth industry for Tucson and will make significant contributions to meeting the region's energy needs in the coming years. Already, the region employs over 2,000 people in the solar industry, contributing a total annual economic impact of $402.7 million to the greater Tucson economy," said Joe Snell, President and CEO of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc., the economic development agency for Tucson.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the award at the opening of the Energy Department's Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The decathlon is an international collegiate event in which 20 student teams - including one from the University of Arizona - compete to design, build, and operate highly energy-efficient, completely solar-powered houses.

Chu's announcement came a day after the House Committee on Science and Technology passed Giffords' Solar Technology Roadmap Act. The bill would require the DOE to appoint a group of experts to create a long-term plan to guide solar energy research and its transition into commercial uses.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said the funds would help advance the use of solar energy in Tucson and make it easier for consumers to get comprehensive information on solar from a one-stop center.

"This award will allow the city of Tucson to continue its leadership in the use of solar energy," said Giffords, a member of the House Committee on Science and Technology.

The DOE award to the city of Tucson will finance:

  • Research into creative ways for municipalities to pay for solar installations.
  • A study of how solar projects can be integrated into new city buildings from the beginning of planning.
  • Establishment of a "one-stop solar shop" that would provide comprehensive, unbiased information to people interested in installing solar equipment on their homes or other privately owned buildings.

About TREO (Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc.)
TREO's mission is to provide insight, infrastructure, resources and development efforts to accelerate economic prosperity throughout the Southern Arizona region. TREO supports the creation of new business, the growth and expansion of existing businesses, and the attraction of companies that offer high-impact jobs and share the communities' values. For more information, visit http://www.treoaz.org/ .

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