Arizona ranks third in the nation in terms of solar system installation, according to the 2011 U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Governor Jan Brewer announced March 22.
More impressive, Arizona’s energy production from photovoltaic systems jumped from 63 to 273 megawatts between 2010 and 2011: a tremendous 333 percent rate of growth. Arizona now trails only California and New Jersey in terms of solar megawatt production, and the SEIA report projects Arizona will jump into second place nationally this year.
“This report illustrates why Arizona has earned the title of ‘Solar King,’” said Brewer. “With our abundant sunshine, renewable-energy tax incentives and trained workforce, it’s no surprise solar energy production is soaring in Arizona.”
Nationally, energy production from photovoltaic installations grew 109 percent in 2011, according to the SEIA report. Growth was found in every market segment (residential, non-residential and utility), and project finance investments reached an all-time high. In total, $8.4 billion worth of photovoltaic systems were installed in the United States last year alone.
Solar energy is not only a clean fuel that reduces our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, it also creates quality jobs for Arizonans. The state ranked third nationally in 2011, with nearly 4,800 jobs in the solar energy field, according to the National Solar Jobs Census, issued in October by The Solar Foundation.
Since 2010, nine renewable-energy companies have located or expanded operations in Arizona, creating more than 2,100 jobs and investing more than $1 billion in capital, according to Brewer’s announcement.