Arizona Solar Center Blog

Commentary from Arizona Solar Center Board Members and invited contributors.

While blog entries are initiated by the Solar Center, we welcome dialogue around the posted topics. Your expertise and perspective are highly valued -- so if you haven't logged in and contributed, please do so!

Arizona's Renewable Energy Future

The Status of Renewable Resources and Development in Arizona

The following was prepared for and presented to David Garman, Assistant Secretary of Energy of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, at the Southwest Renewable Energy Fair in Flagstaff, Arizona in August 2003.

The presentation summarizes the measurement of renewable resources and the status of their development in Arizona, as well as the effectiveness of the state Environmental Portfolio Standard. The material contained in the presentation was current as of August 2003.

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Make Content Suggestion

Solar energy, renewable energy and sustainability are increasingly important topics today. And information on these topics is highly dynamic. We make an effort to provide accurate, useful and timely information. Please help us by making suggestions or comments.
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Eight Questions about Solar Power in Arizona

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Key Organizations in Arizona

Arizona Solar Center

Arizona Solar Center

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Wind Energy

  • American Wind Energy Association
    AWEA is a national trade association representing wind power project developers, equipment suppliers, services providers, parts manufacturers, utilities, researchers, and others involved in the wind industry - one of the world's fastest growing energy industries.

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Geothermal

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Solar Space Heating

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Solar Financing

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Solar Equipment

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Photovoltaics

  • DOE - Solar Energy Technologies
    The U.S. Department of Energy funds R&D to develop solar energy technologies. Learn about DOE solar energy programs and initiatives, how to use solar energy and get financial incentives, and access solar information.
  • DOE - SunShot Inititiative
    The DOE SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Reducing the installed cost of solar energy systems by about 75% will drive widespread, large-scale adoption of this renewable energy technology and restore U.S. leadership in the global clean energy race.
  • NREL - Open PV Project
    The OpenPV project is a free database of real American solar project info sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. It has data on over 160,000 solar systems across the country - where they are, how big they are, how much they cost, and more. It's all illustrated in a Visualization Gallery with charts and graphs.
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Other Energy

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

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Journals

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International Solar

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General Solar

  • American Solar Energy Society
    The nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation's leading association of solar professionals & advocates. Our mission is to inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy.

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State Solar

  • Arizona - Arizona Corporation Commission
    The ACC regulates utilities, corporations and securities in the state. The Commissioners have the ultimate responsibility for final decisions on granting or denying utility rate adjustments, enforcing safety and public service requirements, and approving securities matters.

  • Arizona - Arizona Public Service's (APS) Green Choice Program
    APS' Green Choice Rates are an easy and affordable way to make use of renewable energy resources.

  • Arizona - Arizona Smart Power
    Arizona Smart Power specializes in helping residential consumers understand and compare the bids they are getting from photovoltaic or solar thermal dealers – and to understand the solar installation process.

  • Arizona - Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA)
    The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association is a non-profit trade association representing local, national and international solar companies in the Arizona market.

  • Arizona - Arizona Solar Racing Team
  • The official website for the University of Arizona solar racing team.
  • Arizona - Arizona State University (ASU) LightWorks Solar Initiative
    LightWorks pulls light-inspired research at ASU under one strategic framework. It is a multi-disciplinary effort to leverage ASU’s unique strengths, particularly in renewable energy fields including artificial photosynthesis, biofuels, and next-generation photovoltaics.

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Federal Solar

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How a Battery is Recycled

98% OF A LEAD ACID BATTERY IS RECYCLABLE
The first step in simple, the bottom of the scrap battery is cut by a mechanical saw, allowing the sulphuric acid and any lead suspended in the acid to be drained off. The battery is then fed into a hammer mill for crushing.
Once crushed, the remaining components are floated off through a series of flotation ponds. The plastic pieces of the battery case, each by now no larger than a fifty cent coin are re-granulated into plastic which is used to manufacture the next generation of battery cases.
Next, the remaining two components of the scrap battery - lead and lead oxide - are fed into a rotary furnace along with lead dross, sludge, coke and other additives used to assist in the removal of impurities. This mixture is smelted for about seven hours at temperatures of approximately 500 degrees Celsius (that's over 900 degrees Fahrenheit).
The molten lead is poured off into a holding kettle and then transferred into refining pots where the final impurities and dross are removed. Lead with a purity of 99.97 per cent is capable of being made, however sometimes, antimony or calcium is added to the lead to make alloys. Various grades of lead alloy are made, depending on the manufacturing end use.
The refined lead is then used to manufacture new generation batteries.
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BATTERIES ARE VITAL

Lead acid batteries are crucial to life in the modern world. They are essential to transport and communication systems, electrical utilities and often provide life-saving backup during power failures.
Many times, we do not realize how important batteries are because, so often, they can not be seen. Batteries are typically out of sight and out of mind.
Telephones, for example, will work during electrical storms and power outages. This is because telecommunication systems are backed-up by battery power. Lead acid batteries maintain emergency power for computer systems and critical operations such as air traffic control, rail crossings, and hospitals. Civil Defense communications during natural disasters sometimes rely heavily on battery power.
Electric wheelchairs are powered by batteries, as are electric forklifts and industrial vehicles in warehouses, distribution centers, mines and other enclosed spaces where fumes from combustion engines would be hazardous. Without these powerful workhorses, life as we know it could be very difficult and different.
Lead acid batteries, while developed in the late 19th century, look likely to be a crucial power source well into the 21st century. Inventors are striving for economic battery-power alternatives to oil and gas fuels.
LEAD IS A VALUABLE RESOURCE.
The value of lead has been known for centuries. Lead products formed part of the Ancient world's wonders, from lead-glazed mosaic tiles, to stained glass windows and the hanging Gardens of Babylon.xray
Lead roofing and flashing has been used in Europe for years because of its low maintenance, resistance to corrosion, ease of installation and its beauty. St Paul's Cathedral in London was built with a lead roof in the 17th century and it has never required re-roofing. Lead is renowned for its resistance to moisture. Power companies sheathe underground electric cables with lead to protect against dampness.Lead alloys are used for X-ray and radiotherapy shields for cancer patients. It is essential in television screens and computer monitors because lead compounds can block radiation without affecting screen quality. Lead is used to provide top quality soundproofing in some of the world's best hotels. It is also used to protect against high altitude radiation in commercial aircraft.
Lead's future also looks promising. The first lead based computer chips have been developed to retain data when the power is switched off and lead shock dampers are now used for earthquake damage prevention.
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RECYCLING SUCCESS

More than 98 per cent of a lead acid batteries can be recycled, making them the most recycled of any consumer product. New generation lead acid batteries can be made from 100 per cent recycled lead and from up to 90 per cent recycled plastic.
When lead acid batteries are improperly disposed of, the acid inside them can leach into soil and waterways causing serious contamination. Recycling lead acid batteries safely means a lot less lead gets into the environment and therefore, health risks are much reduced.
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RESPONSIBILITY AND THE BATTERY MANUFACTURER

As responsible battery manufacturers, all U.S. Manufactures are committed to ensuring the majority of used lead-acid batteries are recycled.
These companies believe strongly in moving with the technological improvements. They are also committed to continuing to providing the "cradle to grave" management of all Lead Acid products.

(Original source of this article is unknown.)

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Solar Building Design in Arizona

Cliffs The idea of using the sun to meet the energy needs in our buildings has been with us since the time of the Greeks, with some of the design manifestations even evident in the prehistoric structures of Arizona and the Southwest. There is a great historic tradition for Arizona buildings that utilize our most abundant resource, and the current increases in environmental concerns, coupled with diminishing resources and costly energy place even greater emphasis upon solar and renewable energies as an important part of Arizona's energy mix.

Solar utilization has a long history, beginning with some of the earliest structures in which humans lived. The early inhabitants of what we now call Arizona probably did not think of their homes as passively heated and cooled. They built them in response to the climate, to social and cultural standards and to their need for adequate shelter. They did not have available to them abundant energy resources or mechanical devices for moderating the indoor climate of their homes. So they used what was available - the sun, wind, caves, fire and available materials such as branches and sticks, and mud and stone. If necessary, they built several dwellings, including one for summer and one for winter.

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Solar Application & Integration

APPLICATION - IMAGE 01Active and passive solar systems equipment - that hardware and elements which capture the sun’s energy for heating bath and wash water; heating swimming pools for extended season use; generating electricity to power devices; cooking food; warming and cooling buildings, etc. Solar equipment use is growing in Arizona neighborhoods, cities and towns.APPLICATION - IMAGE 02 Buildings are incorporating solar as part of the basic equipment package. People want to use solar equipment because it is cost effective, resource saving, simple to use and understand, and there is a logical, direct and unencumbered energy resource in the sun as it moves across the sky.

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Resource Maps

Wind, Solar Photovoltaic, Collocated Geothermal, Concentrating Solar Power, and Biomass

(US Department of Energy, NREL; map descriptions courtesy Tom Acker)

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