Although the heat is dangerous, the sunshine does provide our state with more opportunities to create solar energy.
Over the past decade, the Bureau of Land Management has been working to designate solar energy zones across the southwest. Each state has been trying to find areas to transform into solar fields.
Right now, there are three designed plots in Arizona that are all about 2,000 acres each and have been approved for solar energy — one in La Paz County, one in Yuma County, and one in Maricopa County. They are still all in the development process but hope to bring more renewable energy to our state in the long term.
Right now, most of the energy around the country comes from burning natural gas or coal.
"These have huge impacts in terms of CO2 emission, which crank out CO2 day after day after day. Which enhances the greenhouse and global warming. The more we can get off hydrocarbon-based fuels, like oil gas, and coal. Ultimately the more opportunities we have to lessen the human contributions to climate change," said Derek Eysenback, a senior project manager for renewable energy.
These projects could also save Arizona money in the long run.
"You have sunlight, which is free. All the planning that goes into it can be a very big upfront cost but for the next 30 or 40 (years), that solar field is operating the input costs literally nothing. Other than washing the panels a couple of times a year, paying some staff for maintenance, and doing some upgrades. It is a very low operating cost," said Eysenback.
There is still no timeline on the projects yet, meaning construction is a long way away but eventually, it could help drive down many people's energy bills.