Tag Archives: energy source

A Rioglass solar facility - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program Helps GPEC Bring In The Shining Stars Of Solar

It makes sense that a city with an average of more than 321 days of sunshine a year is taking the lead in solar, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of the energy source’s biggest crusader in Arizona: the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

“I think if you look at comprehensively the way that we approach the utilization of solar, this is top-down the best market to do solar manufacturing,” says Chris Camacho, executive vice president of business development at GPEC.

GPEC aggressively pushed for passage of Senate Bill 1403, the Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program, that was signed into law in 2009. The incentives include a refundable tax credit and a property tax reduction.

Since January 2010, eight companies have made the commitment to come to the Phoenix Metro area, with many more anticipated for the future.

GPEC’s hard work has led to making connections around the globe and attracting a number of high-level renewable energy companies to the Valley. One of these companies is Suntech Power Holdings, the world’s largest manufacturer of photovoltaic modules.

“Arizona can be very proud that it has GPEC as an ambassador for the region to reach out to global companies,” says Wei Tai Kwok, vice president of marketing at China-based Suntech Power Holdings. “They’re pounding the pavement to get the message out there that they want to be the solar capital.”

It was thanks to this commitment that Suntech decided to make Goodyear the location for the company’s first U.S. manufacturing plant.

“(GPEC) helped us with the financial modeling, business plan and follow-up,” Kwok says. “They were very attentive and committed to our success … and they’re still at our side and supportive of our needs.”

He also listed other important attributes that factored into the decision, including the state’s skilled work force and Arizona’s serious commitment to solar energy.

GPEC’s Camacho says that type of confidence and emphasis helps the organization differentiate itself from similar groups.

“GPEC’s brand as a group can provide the highest level of services to companies in analyzing the Western U.S. for business locations,” he adds.

The companies that have worked with GPEC can attest to its capability in assisting with relocation efforts. Rioglass Solar, a company that produces reflector components for solar thermal power plants and is a subsidiary of Rioglass Solar Holdings in Spain, worked with GPEC to establish a manufacturing facility and U.S. headquarters in Surprise.

“It was very helpful for us to have an organization that could get us the support we needed,” says Greg Armstrong, chief operating officer of Rioglass Solar. “You need a site that is constructible, has infrastructure and has a quality work force.”

Armstrong adds that the company is highly confident that due to the support of the local community, the infrastructure and GPEC, coming to Arizona will meet Rioglass Solar’s objectives.

Of course, one of the biggest benefits the expansion of the solar industry in Arizona will have will be on job creation. The more activity there is in the region, the more high-quality jobs will be available. The Suntech plant already has created 80 jobs and is expecting to increase to about 150 people within three or four years. Rioglass Solar also anticipates more than 100 positions at its Surprise facility.

While there has been plenty to celebrate since the passing of the incentive program, there are still hurdles to overcome. The catalysts for future growth of the solar industry in Arizona certainly are in place, but the economic difficulties have had an effect.

“We have seen corporations be very conservative in how quickly they move on investment decisions,” Camacho says. “We still have another 150 renewable energy companies in our pipeline. As the economy continues to recover, credit becomes more available, we will welcome more and more companies.”

It’s safe to say that Arizona is moving ahead in the sustainability industry — most notably in the solar field — and thanks to GPEC’s support, there are no signs of this industry slowing down.

“I look at sustainability alongside health care as one of the two industries that is going to drive our economic future,” Camacho says. “Without groups like GPEC, a lot of this would not exist, and I’ll attribute that to having our team be at the forefront of understanding these technology applications, understanding what drives the location decisions of CEOs, and creating an environment that’s very supportive of the (solar) industry.”

AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Adrienne Howell Southwest Gas

Valley Forward Profiles Adrienne Howell Of Southwest Gas

Adrienne Howell
Southwest Gas
Administrator/Community and Consumer Affairs

Adrienne Howell has a diverse background that allows her to excel in her current position at Southwest Gas. During her career, Howell has worked in human relations, communications, management, marketing and sales.

As community and consumer affairs administrator, her responsibilities include developing and nurturing partnerships that strengthen communities. It is a position that requires Howell to be out in the community and active in organizations.

Southwest Gas has been a member of Valley Forward for about 18 years. Howell joined in 2009. In her first year as a new member, she was eager to get involved and helped make sponsorship calls.

Howell currently serves on the energy committee and the marketing committee for the Environmental Excellence Awards. She will serve as vice chair for next year’s Livability Summit, and in 2012 she will become the chair.

Howell and Southwest Gas wanted to be part of the conversations on how to improve the environment and create livability in the community.

“The only way to really know how you can make a difference is to get involved,” Howell says. “You can’t do that from the sidelines. You can’t do that from reading a project description. You have to raise your hand and say,  ‘I’ll help.’”

Southwest Gas and Valley Forward have similar goals. Southwest Gas dedicates itself to making communities a great place to call home. The company focuses on ways to emphasize safety, and serve its customers and communities. One priority of Southwest Gas is to save money and use energy wisely, a common goal with Valley Forward.

“Organizations like Valley Forward, because of its long-standing presence in the Valley and because of its local mission, are important to help us further our goal of offering customers smarter, greener energy sources for their homes and businesses,” Howell says.

Howell realizes that these are challenging economic times for organizations and companies, and people have to closely evaluate every dollar they spend. However, Southwest Gas believes that Valley Forward is an important and necessary partnership to have, which is why even through these challenging times it has remained an active member.

Howell says that to retain and keep membership, Valley Forward will have to get input from stakeholders to find out what value it can give to members.

Energy Efficiency

Green News Roundup – Energy Efficiency, Green Organizations & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about energy efficiency auditing, promoting your company as a green organization and more.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see in the roundup to kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles about sustainability efforts in the Valley and state.

REEis Provides Independence From High Energy Costs
REEis, a local Valley company that specializes in energy efficiency auditing and contracting is hosting an Independence Day promotion in hopes to get more efficient homes on our streets. Utilizing low cost, energy efficient improvements to our homes and commercial buildings can greatly reduce energy consumption and our dependence on oil and foreign energy sources. “America’s Energy Independence Day Promotion” will be offered for one week starting June 26. REEis is also offering Arizona homeowners a $29 comprehensive energy audit if booked by July 4th. If interested please call (480) 969-7500 or visit the company’s website at: reeishome.com

Is it Energy’s Turn Now?
The New York Times Green Blog looks at the possibility of energy and climate change legislation being in the works for the government. As the financial regulation nears completion, some Democrats are hopeful that this next challenge can be met before Congress leaves town in August.

June Education Forum: Green Marketing
The Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce is hosting their monthly education forum at Rio Salado College on Monday, June 28th at 5:30 p.m. The topic for this month’s forum is exploring best practices for promoting your company as a green organization. Learn about effective strategies to maximize your green marketing efforts and minimize impact on the environment. RSVP to the event here. For full details visit: www.arizonagreenchamber.org/Phoenix/

First U.S. offshore wind energy project faces lawsuit
Environmental groups plan to file suit in federal court against the Obama administration regarding the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound. The groups accuse the administration of violating the Endangered Species Act with the approval of the project. The suit states that the project, which calls for a set of 130 wind turbine generators to be installed on Nantucket Sound, would fail to protect endangered birds and whales. Yikes, don’t know how this will pan out but I hope the Obama administration finds a way to work this out amicably.

Green News Roundup- Alternative Energy Sources, Bioplastics and more

Green News Roundup – Alternative Energy Sources, Bioplastics & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about green entrepreneurs, alternative energy sources, bioplastics and more.

Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

Body Heat: Sweden’s New Green Energy Source
This article will make you think twice the next time you’re sweating it out at the gym or simply walking to work. Swedish engineers have figured out a way to harness body heat and transfer it to energy for an office building. Though using excess body heat to warm a building isn’t a new concept, transferring it from one building to another is. The future for this new energy source is exciting!

Entrepreneurs Ditch Day Jobs to Create Green mobile apps
Two University of Arizona graduates developed a green application for the iPhone geared toward the environmentally conscious consumer. iGoGreen offers green tips for hundreds of situations.

Solar Inspired, Eco-Friendly Gallery Opens at Arizona Science Center
Arizona Science Center announced the grand opening of its newly renovated gallery, Solarville. This hands-on gallery is focused on sustainability including exhibits on how to harness and distribute sustainable green energy, exploring ways to utilize solar and renewable energy in your everyday life and more. The exhibit opens May 23 and will offer daily demonstrations.

The Promise and Pitfalls of Bioplastic
In a previous post I wrote about petroleum and its strong presence in our everyday products. Since petroleum-based plastics do not biodegrade, bioplastics are hoping to fill the gap. This article discusses the future of the environmentally friendly plastic and its role in a petroleum-based world.