Archive for February, 2010

A Victory for Solar Energy in Arizona

February 26, 2010

Energy bill dies following industry opposition

by Mary Jo Pitzl – Feb. 26, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Business and green-energy firms Thursday cheered the sudden death of a bill that they warned would have darkened Arizona’s prospects for attracting alternative-energy firms.

The demise of House Bill 2701 came less than two days after it won initial approval in the House Government Committee, despite warnings that it would drive away promising solar ventures.

The 5-2 vote sent shock waves through the business-development community that is trying to make Arizona a hub for alternative energy, especially solar. Their pressure prompted bill sponsor Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, to withdraw the measure from further consideration.

Lesko was not available for comment on her decision. But Gov. Jan Brewer was quick to applaud the move, calling Lesko’s actions “wise and thoughtful.”

Just last month, Brewer helped announce the decision of Suntech, a Chinese firm that makes solar panels, to locate its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Goodyear.

On Tuesday, Suntech’s lobbyist told the House committee that the bill would “obliterate” demand for solar production and eliminate the reason the firm chose Arizona.

That’s because HB2701 would have added nuclear to the list of renewable energy options.

Arizona’s renewable-energy standard calls for 15 percent of power production to come from renewable sources by 2025. If nuclear were counted, power companies would already meet that standard, removing the incentive to pursue other forms of energy.

The bill also sought to shift the authority for energy policy to the Legislature and away from the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Alternative-energy companies said the decision to withdraw the bill assures a more predictable climate in Arizona for businesses that manufacture alternative forms of energy such as solar and wind.

“From an industry perspective, it’s a strong signal that the state is open for business,” said Sean Seitz, president and chief executive officer of American Solar Electric.

Rep. Warde Nichols, R-Gilbert, said the bill would have put Arizona in reverse on energy policy and repelled companies that promise good-paying jobs.

“Companies have set up their business models on what is settled policy,” Nichols said. He was one of two lawmakers to vote against the bill Tuesday.

Solar Education is Today’s Front Page News

February 26, 2010

Not only is solar education a hot topic, this morning it’s literally front page news.  eRenewable Resource Institute is featured in Friday’s edition of the Arizona Republic. The article discusses Arizona’s growing job market in the solar industry and highlights eRenewable Resource Institute as it strives to raise awareness and meet the increasing demand for formal education and training in solar energy, photovoltaic design, and installation.

You can read the full feature on eRenewable Resource Institute on by clicking the link below:

To learn more about solar training or to register for an upcoming solar installation workshop, you can visit eRenewable Resource Institute’s website at or call 480.446.0400.

Solar school trains installers to capture the sun

February 26, 2010

by Ray Parker – Feb. 25, 2010 09:54 AM

The Arizona Republic

One Mesa businesswoman is banking on jobs going to the rooftops. Donna Marie Bertault recently opened eRenewable Resource Group, the first licensed renewable energy vocational school in Arizona.

In short, the company offers courses for hooking up photovoltaic arrays, better known as solar panels, which convert the sun’s energy into electricity.

Even in a recession, Bertault has been holding classes throughout the Valley with some 200 people enrolling, primarily those interested in being a part of the growing solar industry.

Arizona’s green industries grew faster than overall state employment over a recent 10-year period, according to a recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Washington, D.C.-based group found that between 1998 and 2007, jobs in Arizona’s clean-energy economy grew 21.3 percent to 11,500 from roughly 9,500.

The report said Arizona attracted $31 million in green venture capital over the past three years, with the largest share going toward solar power. It cited Stirling Energy Systems in Phoenix and Tempe-based First Solar Inc.

First Solar reported last week that fourth-quarter profits increased 6.7 percent as the company sold $200 million more in solar panels than the same quarter last year.

“We’re the first step in getting national certification,” Bertault said. “I noticed there was no training in Phoenix. People had to go to Colorado or California for this solar training.”

Available in day or evening sessions, the eRenewable course teaches the technical skills necessary to design and install solar-electric systems. The five-day training includes four days of classroom instruction and one day of hands-on installation or labs. Also, evening monthly courses are two nights per week with a one-day installation.

The course costs $995.

AZ Legistlature to Discuss Bills on Solar Energy Today

February 23, 2010

This is your call to action! The state legislature will present several bills today at 2:00pm that could greatly impact the future and availability of solar/renewable energy in Arizona (see our post from yesterday). It’s vital that all of us who are concerned about sustainable energy be there to stand together and voice our concerns. Here’s the location info:

Arizona House of Representatives
1700 West Washington (House of Representatives is on the North side of the Capital complex)
Phoenix, AZ 85007

If you can’t be there in person, the House Government Committee will provide live streaming video on their website. You can get there by clicking here.

Important Legislative Information

February 22, 2010

Important Legislative Information AriSEIA Members……. I have attached the article from today’s Phoenix Business Journal regarding HB2701 electric utilities; renewable energy standards, which has been introduced in the Arizona Legislature. This bill could result in the elimination all of the solar programs that we have worked so hard for at the Arizona Corporation Commission. Yesterday, a legislative stakeholders meeting took place where only one member of the solar industry and a lobbyist were invited to attend. A list of solar industry stake holders was provided to Rep. Lesko, the sponsor of HB2701, however she stated that it was too large and limited attendance at the meeting. APS, SRP, and TEP, were invited to attend the meeting. A representative from the Electric Cooperatives also attended and it was reported that he was in favor of anything that would end the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff. That is not a surprise to those of us who have been in similar stakeholder meeting on other legislative issues. Also, Rep. Andy Tobin, of District 1 (Prescott area) came into the meeting briefly and expressed that House leadership support this bill. Rep. Tobin is the House Majority Whip. It does not appear that the utilities are actively opposing this bill and may even support it in the long run. Rep. Lesko is planning on offering amendments to the bill and we do not expect that they will make the bill any more palatable. This bill is bad for solar and bad for Arizona. AriSEIA and the Solar Alliance are organizing an effort to get as many people as possible down to the Legislature for Tuesday’s House Government Committee Hearing. It is time for everyone in the solar industry to sign up to be able to support …or oppose legislation. This bill is going to be scheduled in the House Government Committee on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00PM. We need to get as many people as possible to the House of Representatives to register for an account on the legislatures system and to attend the Government Committee hearing. Once you registered in person at the Legislature, you will be able to sign on to the website from any location and register your support or opposition to bills online. Once you register, we ask that you take the following action on bills: Support – HB 2700 (sales tax exemption extension) Support – HB 2063 (caps permit fees) Oppose – HB 2701 (kills the RES created by the ACC) All of these bills are in committee next week and a big showing is needed for all! Please remember that we make the most out of this effort if we are civil and polite in our efforts to oppose this bill and in any comments that we make when registering our position on any bill. Also, we urge you to encourage your staff to come down and resister and attend the committee hearings as well. One company is giving their employees the rest of the afternoon off……… we hope that you will do the same. Time: 2:00 PM (please come early so that you will have time to register before the hearing) Place: Arizona House of Representatives 1700 West Washington (the House of Representatives is the building on the North side of the Capital complex) Phoenix, AZ 85007 Please let us know that you will be there. R.S.V.P. to Joy Butler at When you get to the Capital, there will be computer kiosks in both the house and the Senate side (the Senate is on the South side of the Capitol Mall. At the Kiosks, you will be able to register on the system. Tom Alston, Joy Butler and I will be there to help you through the process. If you have any questions, fee free to contact me. Thank you. Michael Neary President Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association 602-708-1497

Renewable Energy Provides Jobs.

February 2, 2010

When Donna Marie Bertault attended the Build-it-Green conference in Phoenix Arizona, she never dreamed it would be a life-changing event. She learned that Arizona would be one of the ‘Hot Spots” for Solar Technology due to its ideal sunny climate and vast open landscapes.

Excited about her home state of Arizona becoming the hub for Solar Technology, Donna asked where she could get solar training. She found out there currently wasn’t any Solar Technology training available in Phoenix, only in Colorado. This got her thinking, “Why not bring solar technology to Phoenix?” So that is just what Donna did!

Now her company, eRenewable Resource Institute, the first licensed Private Post-Secondary Education School in the state of Arizona, in partnership with Rio Salado College; a registered-provided of the NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam, is on the cutting edge of filling this potential workforce gap with specialized training in Photovoltaic design and installation.

You can visit their website for a complete list of available classes and dates. or Register by Phone at (480) 446-0400

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