Arizona not using full solar energy potential?

PHOENIX - Arizona seems like a shoo-in as one of the top solar states in the nation, but according to new data, our state is not number one in the sun.

The New York Times listed the top 10 solar states as of 2010, courtesy of Solar Energy Industries Association

The list shows that California takes the solar cake, with over 47 percent of the nation's cumulative solar capacity. New Jersey comes in second with 14 percent. Arizona ties with Colorado and Nevada, using only 5 percent of America's solar power.

With Arizona claimed as the sunniest state in the country and many Arizona cities seeing over 80 percent sunshine each year, it may be puzzling why our state isn't number one in solar. 

Greg Peterson, a Valley resident has had solar panels on his roof for over 5 years now.  He says once their installed, you can almost forget about them and just enjoy the free power.  He think everyone should get them and is offering a class at his house, The Urban Farm , to tour his solar power and answer any questions from a solar power user persepective.

We also chatted with Vinson Seremet, solar power consultant from Perfect Power Solar , who showed us the New York Times article and said he thinks Arizonans are confused about the cost and rebates.  "It's not like the basic automobile that you grew up with for 20 years and know a little bit about. It (solar power) is a foreign launguage to a lot of people."

He tells us that Perfect Power Solar can make it easy and hassle free for homeowners. They basically pick up the bill, usually around $30,000, and deal with getting all the rebates. They will simply charge you a flat fee of about $6,500.  That includes a 25-year warrenty and a monitoring system.

Seremet says that most people save about $1,200 a year. Therefore, their solar panels are paid off in about four to five years. He says, after that time period, many people will have free power.

Worried about shade and storms?  If you don't get power from the solar panels for whatever reason, you are still connected to SRP or APS that can be used as a back-up.  Also, if the panels produce more power than you need, it can be rolled over the next month much like minutes on a cell phone.

After 20 years, you can buy the system for just $1 and still enjoy the benefits of the warrenty for another five years. Seremet says that now is a good time to go green with solar because eletricity bills keep on rising.

Seremet is available to answer any questions or concerns about solar power through his direct line at 602-413-6912 or email

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