The Death of Arizona Anti-Solar Bill HB 2701

The Death of Arizona Anti-Solar Bill HB 2701

Arizona house bill 2701, introduced by Rep. Debbie Lesko, was on its way to killing the state’s solar sector until it was recently dropped.  HB 2701 was to allow the state to include nuclear and hydroelectric power in the renewable energy standards of Arizona’s 2025 goal of generating 15% of all its energy from renewable sources.

Representative Kris Mayes, chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission and author of the state’s current RES program, said HB 2701 “would surely be the death knell for advancing solar energy in the state.”

HB 2701 would prevent solar investment in Arizona by sending the wrong message to utility companies.  Permitting nuclear and hydroelectric sources to be used for distributed energy transmission would not leave room for solar companies like SolarCity, Kyocera Solar, and Suntech to provide renewable power to the grid.  Needless to say, HB 2701 would also prevent all the solar jobs that were bound to develop in the state.  HB 2701 contradicted a mandate for utilities to generate 30% of their power from rooftop systems.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s office issued a statement about HB 2701 and its author: “Representative Lesko’s wise and thoughtful actions today to withdraw HB 2701 should be lauded. This sends a clear and united message to employers around the world – Arizona remains the premier destination for solar industries.”

HB 2701 would have made Arizona the only state to include existing nuclear power plants in a renewable energy standard.  It’s amazing to think that in 2001, Arizona was one of the first states to introduce an RES attracting many opportunities for solar manufacturing, installation, and research/development.

Rich Hessler Solar
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