Tag Archives: First Solar

economic development - 8 honored

16 Arizona companies make Fortune 1000 list

Sixteen Arizona-based companies earned spots on the Fortune 1000 list, a reference list of the 1,000 largest American companies, ranked on revenues alone.

The 16 Arizona companies on the Fortune 1,000:

  • No. 108 Avnet, Phoenix
  • No. 137 Freeport-McMoRan, Phoenix
  • No. 323 Republic Services, Phoenix
  • No. 386 PetSmart, Phoenix
  • No. 493 Insight Enterprises, Tempe
  • No. 502 Northern Tier Energy, Tempe
  • No. 593 Swift Transportation, Phoenix
  • No. 645 Magellan Health, Scottsdale
  • No. 683 Pinnacle West Capital, Phoenix
  • No. 692 First Solar, Tempe
  • No. 722 ON Semiconductor, Phoenix
  • No. 726 Amkor Technology, Tempe
  • No. 735 Taylor Morrison Home, Scottsdale
  • No. 746 Apollo Education Group, Phoenix
  • No. 762 Sprouts Farmers Market, Phoenix
  • No. 957 Meritage Homes, Scottsdale
energy supply - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

Silicon Ranch selects First Solar technology for project

Nashville-based renewable energy provider Silicon Ranch Corporation and Tempe-based First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) announce the selection of First Solar technology and products for the 12-Megawatt (MW)AC solar power project that will provide power to Aerojet Rocketdyne and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) in East Camden, Arkansas.

Silicon Ranch has selected First Solar’s advanced thin film modules and solar tracker racking solution for installation at Silicon Ranch’s Highland Industrial Park solar field adjacent to Aerojet Rocketdyne’s 1,200-acre manufacturing and test facility. Electricity from the solar generation facility will directly supplement Aerojet Rocketdyne’s daytime operations. Under a unique set of power purchase agreements, excess electricity generated by the installation will be released to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and integrated into the cooperative’s diverse generation portfolio.

“With its manufacturing facility in Perrysburg, Ohio, First Solar meets Aerojet Rocketdyne’s commitment to work with U.S. companies and support domestic development and manufacturing of technology that advances our nation’s strategic objectives,” comments Erik Didriksen, Aerojet Rocketdyne EH&S strategist.

“This project is on the leading edge of a trend by U.S. industrial companies to commit to clean, renewable energy,” said Matthew Kisber, President and Chief Executive Officer of Silicon Ranch Corporation. “Aerojet Rocketdyne understands that solar is a responsible choice from both environmental and economic considerations. It is a smart, enlightened strategic procurement decision. Silicon Ranch is proud to help them achieve that objective.”

Kisber said Silicon Ranch’s selection of First Solar was based on the company’s streamlined Module Plus solution, which is essentially a bundling of First Solar PV modules, wiring and mounting system, pre-engineered to optimize First Solar’s proven module technology. The Aerojet Rocketdyne project includes a single-axis tracking table mounting system, which allows the modules to follow the sun across its daily arc. This tracker technology produces up to 25 percent more energy than fixed mounting systems, and is a configuration preferred by utility-scale solar projects around the world.

“Silicon Ranch’s choice to partner with First Solar shows how this technology contributes to a competitively designed commercial and industrial solar power project,” said Dana Diller, First Solar’s Vice President of Business Development – U.S. “This market segment includes large-scale business operations seeking ways to save on energy costs while adopting sustainable, environmentally sound purchasing practices. First Solar enables power plant operators and owners to mitigate their risk and maximize their energy return.”

best-las-vegas-magician-special-event-Excitement-1-23

Illusionist headlines 2015 AWEE After Dark

Mentalist and illusionist Simon Winthrop, an award-winning magician considered one of the best in the world, will engage, entertain and interact with guests at the 2015 AWEE After Dark, a casual, no-black-tie evening of appetizers, signature cocktails, friends and live and silent auctions on Friday, April 10 from 5:0-10 p.m. at The Clayton on the Park at the Scottsdale Civic Center, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd in Scottsdale.

Individual tickets are $150 and are available at the website, www.awee.org.

Winthrop is not just a world-class mentalist, he wrote the book on it – literally – and has dazzled and mystified the world’s elite, from Richard Branson and Warren Buffet and the CEO of Google to Clive Owens and the Crown Prince of Bahrain.

Co-chaired by Nicole Spracale, Nicole Spracale Consulting, and Carol Campbell, Campbell HR Consulting, primary sponsors are First Solar, First Services Network and B-On the Obvious. Additional support is provided by Campbell HR Consulting, Merchants Information Solutions and Nicole Spracale Consultilng. Leticia Frye is the auctioneer.

Additional sponsorships are available.

For more information, visit www.awee.org.

The Grand Conceptual Rendering Final

LPC will develop 3.2M SF The Grand at Papago Park Center

Papago Park Center, Inc. announced today that Lincoln Property Company (LPC) has been selected to develop the first phase of Class A and mixed-use office space for The Grand at Papago Park Center. The total project is a 60-acre, high-profile, urban mixed-use property on the last developable parcel within the 350-acre Papago Park Center.

The Grand project will serve as the final phase of one of the largest business parks in Arizona. Papago Park Center, Inc., The Grand project’s master developer, selected LPC after an extensive RFP process that included local, regional and national development candidates.

The Grand at Papago Park Center is located along the Loop 202/Red Mountain Freeway between Priest Road and Center Parkway, and is named after the adjacent Grand Canal. The Grand Canal is a waterway developed in the 1870s to bring water from the Salt and Verde rivers to Metropolitan Phoenix. It was recently relocated to run through The Grand project, creating a water feature for the development. The completion of the canal relocation project will be celebrated with an upcoming event in March.

The Grand is part of Papago Park Center, home to the corporate offices of Salt River Project (SRP) as well as First Solar, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, DHL, Union Bank, Sonora Quest Labs, State Farm Insurance, Western Refining and Parsons Brinckerhoff. At build-out, The Grand will total more than 3.2 million square feet of mixed-use office, multifamily, hotel, retail and restaurant space, including up to six 10-story, Class A office buildings surrounding a central water feature. When combined with Papago Park Center’s existing 3.3 million square feet of mixed-use projects, there will be more than 6.5 million square feet of urban development and approximately 20,000 employees and residents. More about The Grand at Papago Park Center is available at the project’s website: www.thegrandatpapagoparkcenter.com.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said development of The Grand at Papago Park Center further adds to the positive momentum of Tempe’s economy. “This is a boon to Tempe. The Grand will have impressive spaces rivaled by few in the region,” he said. “I am excited the site will feature pedestrian and bike paths connected to Tempe Town Lake that will be enjoyed by employees and the public.”

LPC is rolling out plans this month for its first office buildings. At build-out, The Grand will have a total of 1.8 million square feet of Class A space in six buildings. Construction on three parking garages will coincide with the buildings’ development.

“Being selected for this project evokes a sense of history, partnership and environmental stewardship,” said Lincoln Property Company’s Executive Vice President David Krumwiede. “We are extremely excited to work with Papago Park Center and to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the historic Grand Canal as the focal point of the development. We also recognize the all-time high demand for Tempe’s live-work-play environment, and believe now is an ideal time to build something very unique and lasting.”

The Grand is being developed through Planned Area Development (PAD) zoning and offers superior visibility, with approximately one-half mile of freeway frontage and two freeway off-ramps on Loop 202, just across from Tempe Town Lake. With two light rail stops serving the property, the site serves as the first stop on the light rail or by car coming out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and has almost immediate access to Arizona State University and the Loop 202 Freeway. It is also minutes from Interstate 10, the Loop 101 and the 51 Freeway, offering easy access to all major Valley thoroughfares as well as executive and employee housing in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler and Phoenix.

The project will include pedestrian-friendly multi-use paths along the Grand Canal and throughout the campus. Other nearby amenities include Papago Park, Papago Golf Course, Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden, Tempe Town Lake, Arizona State University, Phoenix Municipal Stadium and the restaurants, shopping and entertainment within downtown Tempe’s Mill Avenue District.

“The Grand signifies the innovation and importance of the Grand Canal and the natural history of Papago Park,” said Nina Mullins, Senior Director of Papago Park Center, Inc. “It exemplifies the need to both further advance the economic vitality of our Valley and to protect the resources that sustain our more than 4 million residents.”

Jerry Roberts, Corey Hawley and Patrick Boyle with CBRE will lead the marketing and leasing efforts for The Grand’s office development. HKS Architects/Kendle Design Collaborative both serve as the office project architects and JEDunn will serve as the general contractor.

First Solar

First Solar and Apple strike huge deal

First Solar, Inc. announced that Apple has committed $848 million for clean energy from First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project in Monterey County, Calif. Apple will receive electricity from 130 megawatts (MW)AC of the solar project under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), the largest agreement in the industry to provide clean energy to a commercial end user.

“Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Joe Kishkill, Chief Commercial Officer for First Solar. “Apple’s commitment was instrumental in making this project possible and will significantly increase the supply of solar power in California. Over time, the renewable energy from California Flats will provide cost savings over alternative sources of energy as well as substantially lower environmental impact.”

The 2,900-acre California Flats Solar Project occupies 3 percent of a property owned by Hearst Corporation in Cholame, Calif. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2015, and to be completed by the end of 2016. The output of the remaining 150MW of the project will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a separate long-term PPA, and the project is fully subscribed between the Apple and PG&E PPAs.

In January, the Monterey County Planning Commission unanimously approved the California Flats Solar Project, sending the project to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, which will consider final approval of the project today.

Building on its proven record of developing, building and operating utility-scale solar power plants, First Solar has placed a strategic focus on directly providing large commercial and industrial customers with wholesale electricity through long-term agreements. This deal marks the first wholesale commercial and industrial PPA executed by First Solar.

SolarPower

First Solar achieves efficiency, durability milestones

First Solar, Inc. announced it has set yet another world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) research cell conversion efficiency, achieving 21.5 percent efficiency certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab. The achievement places First Solar ahead of its established research cell roadmap, and validates CdTe’s continuing competitive advantage over traditional crystalline silicon technology.

Demonstrating that production-scale performance is keeping pace with record R&D advancements, First Solar has also announced its commercial modules have passed Atlas 25+® certification following a rigorous series of long-term combined-stress environmental exposure tests.

Record Cell Documented by NREL

The record-setting research cell was constructed at the company’s Perrysburg, Ohio manufacturing factory and Research & Development Center using processes and materials suitable for commercial-scale manufacturing. The record has been documented in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) “Best Research Cell Efficiencies” reference chart. It is the eighth substantial update to CdTe record efficiency since 2011, firmly establishing a sustained trend of rapid performance improvements.

“Our latest research cell efficiency record is a result of continued learning in the material science and device physics of CdTe solar cells,” said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our work is not done in isolation, but is in part a result of the many fruitful collaborations we have with academia, national labs, and our industrial partners, most notably GE Global Research. The learning has enabled us to further optimize our fabrication processes and thereby boost the performance of practical devices further towards the theoretical limit.”

The true value of improved cell efficiency, Garabedian noted, comes from the translation of the science into commercially viable product with improved power output and energy density. “By virtue of our adaptable thin film manufacturing process and our dedication to science-based design-for-reliability, First Solar is unique in its ability to rapidly scale such new developments into cost-effective and reliable product,” he said.

Garabedian emphasized that First Solar’s significant sustained investment in development of CdTe technology has enabled the company to meet or exceed its aggressive projections for improvements in research cells and modules, as well as commercialized technology. In March of 2014, First Solar presented a technology roadmap anticipating a 22 percent research cell efficiency milestone in 2015. “Given the slope of our research cell improvements and the fact that it’s still February, we remain confident that we’ll meet or exceed our roadmap expectations,” said Garabedian.

Atlas 25+ Certification Raises the Bar for Durability

First Solar’s focus on module durability continues to yield results for commercially available products. In late January, First Solar’s production PV modules achieved Atlas 25+ certification status following a rigorous series of long-term combined-stress environmental exposure tests.

The Atlas 25+ certification stresses durability and degradation against accelerated environmental conditions experienced in long-term service. According to Azmat Siddiqi, Senior Vice President for Quality and Reliability, First Solar modules passed the Atlas 25+ stress tests for all parameters, including power output, insulation resistance and visual damage in the hot/arid, subtropical, temperate and “global composite” climate simulations.

“The modules were tested against the most stringent standards available,” said Siddiqi. “We are proud to note that performance of our production modules is evolving hand in hand with other technology advances.” Siddiqi said testing was conducted by Atlas Material Testing Technology, and that formal certification documentation will be issued by SGS, a leading inspection, verification, testing and certification organization recognized for providing global benchmarks for quality and integrity.

The Atlas 25+ results and recent 1500V PID Free certification add to First Solar’s growing list of extended module reliability accolades, which include market-leading results in Thresher, Long Term Sequential and IEC 60068 Desert Sand Resistance tests that independently confirm suitability for sustained operation in the world’s harshest climates.

From left: SPIKE, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee mascot; Councilman Bill Gates, City of Phoenix; Councilman Michael Nowakowski, City of Phoenix; Jim Hughes, First Solar, Inc. CEO; and David Rousseau, Chairman, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

Super-sized Super Bowl countdown clock unveiled

To build on the growing momentum and anticipation of Super Bowl XLIX the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and First Solar, Inc. unveiled the First Solar Countdown Clock in downtown Phoenix this morning. Over the next 60 days, the technologically advanced clock will provide the countdown to kick-off and keep fans “in the know” about events and activities coming up on the free, 12-city block fan campus known as Super Bowl Central.

The super-sized timepiece stands 13 feet tall, is made of aluminum and steel, and illuminated by more than 200 feet of LED lights. The First Solar Countdown Clock will display updated video content and a countdown to the kickoff of Super Bowl XLIX. It features three, 55 inch ultra-bright LED displays and nine First Solar panels, which were manufactured at the company’s US production facility outside of Toledo, Ohio.

“The First Solar Countdown Clock is the second exciting addition to Super Bowl Central, the epicenter of fan activity in Downtown Phoenix, and made possible by First Solar taking a strong local leadership role,” said Jay Parry, President and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

First Solar is also a partner of the Host Committee’s volunteerprogram. With the support of its employees, it is currently the largest single corporate volunteer group for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

”Our association with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee demonstrates First Solar’s commitment to our home town,” said Jim Hughes CEO of First Solar. “Our associates are proudly participating in a variety of volunteer community service programs.”

The First Solar Countdown Clock is located on the northeast corner of Jefferson and 1st Street, which will be the heart of Super Bowl Central. The free, football-themed, pedestrian and family friendly fan campus will feature a multitude of daily activities such as outdoor performances by local musicians and national recording artists, an autograph stage, the iconic Super Bowl XLIX Roman Numerals and a beer garden. It will run from Wednesday, January 28 through Sunday, February 1, 2015.

In November, the Host Committee unveiled the first Super Bowl Central attraction on the corner of Central and Washington. The super-sized football towers more than 20 feet high, measures more than 32 feet around and weighs more than 7,000 pounds. Fans are encouraged to visit both monuments, take selfies, share them on social media using #sb49 and make their own Super Bowl XLIX memories.

Solar Power

First Solar is adding 45 million kWh of clean electricity

First Solar, Inc. and BELECTRIC announced that they have broken ground on a new 46 megawatt (MWDC) utility-scale power plant, in Oxfordshire, Southern England. When completed, the facility will produce 45 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean solar electricity per year, sufficient to power approximately 14,000 average homes or approximately 25% of the estimated 55,400 households in the city of Oxford.

The project is the fourth to be executed in the United Kingdom (UK) under a First Solar and BELECTRIC joint venture, announced in 2013. With its recently built solar farms in Wiltshire and East Anglia, the JV is expecting to reach a total capacity of 80 MWDC in the UK. Together, the farms generate almost 80 million kWh of clean energy per year, while displacing an estimated 35,000 tons of greenhouse gases each year.

“This latest project is a clear indication of the fact that dramatic efficiency gains and increased cost competitiveness, particularly those driven by First Solar, have created an undeniable tipping point for solar power, not only in the UK but around the world. There is no doubt that, thanks to the UK’s renewable energy roadmap, solar PV will help reinforce the country’s efforts to address its need for sustained energy independence,” said Christopher Burghardt, Vice President for Europe at First Solar.

More than 483,000 of First Solar’s advanced thin film modules will be used to power the facility, while BELECTRIC is responsible for the construction and the Balance-of-Systems (BoS) requirements. By displacing 20,000 tons of greenhouse gases each year, the plant will help to maximize the share of climate-friendly power generation in the UK. The project will be in compliance with stringent sustainability standards designed to minimize its impact in the local environment, and to support biodiversity initiatives. Furthermore the land under the solar farm will continue to remain in food production, with sheep grazing the site as was the case before the project was constructed.

“By combining First Solar’s best-in-class thin film modules and components with our industry-leading BoS and construction techniques, we are effectively helping to realize the vast potential of fast developing solar markets, such as the UK,” said Martin Zembsch, Chief Sales Officer, BELECTRIC. “This project, and the others before it, demonstrates that we can remain competitive in a wide range of regulatory environments thanks to our singular focus on quality, reliability and competitiveness.”

“When we connect this project in the coming months, it will be the UK’s largest and most technologically advanced solar energy plant, incorporating the latest innovations delivered by both BELECTRIC and First Solar,” said Toddington Harper, CEO of BELECTRIC UK. “To put it in context, this single project will produce enough secure, home-grown, solar energy to drive an electric vehicle over 200 million kilometers per year, or the equivalent of approximately 260 round trips to the moon. Combined with the fact that the land under the solar arrays will remain in agricultural use, with areas set aside to support biodiversity, this is a prime example of the multiple benefits that best-in-class solar farm projects can deliver to the UK.”

First Solar and BELECTRIC share a longstanding relationship that spans over a decade. In 2013, they realized Europe’s largest thin film PV power plant in Templin, Germany. Bringing together industry-leading capabilities and technologies, the two groups established a joint venture to realize selected utility-scale PV projects in Europe, North Africa and the United States.

energy supply - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

First Solar Builds Highest Efficiency Thin Film PV Cell

First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced it has set a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) research cell conversion efficiency, achieving 21.0 percent efficiency certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab. The record-setting cell was constructed at the company’s Perrysburg, Ohio manufacturing factory and Research & Development Center, using processes and materials designed for commercial-scale manufacturing.

The record has been documented in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) “Best Research Cell Efficiencies” reference chart.

This certified result bests the previous CdTe record of 20.4 percent conversion efficiency, which was set by First Solar in February of 2014, and represents the seventh substantial update to CdTe record efficiency since 2011. The achievement also places First Solar’s CdTe research cell efficiency above copper indium gallium diselenide based solar cells (CIGS) at 20.9 percent, and well above multicrystalline silicon (mSi), which peaked at 20.4 percent in 2004.

“We have just begun to reveal the true unrealized potential of CdTe PV,” said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our Advanced Research team continues to deliver extraordinary results by creating practical devices capable of commercial scale production. Not only have we have now demonstrated the highest single junction thin film cell on record, but just as important, our record cells are based on the same scalable manufacturing processes and commodity materials that we have proven through years of volume production.”

Garabedian noted that while competing technologies are using increasingly costly materials and cell processes in order to deliver moderate performance gains, First Solar is establishing a rapid path to industry-leading energy densities, while simultaneously improving manufacturing metrics.

“Our significant investment in development of CdTe thin-film technology has enabled a rapid rate of improvement and gives us tremendous confidence in the future,” said Markus Gloeckler, First Solar Vice President for Advanced Research. “We have made outstanding improvements in all aspects of our thin-film solar cells and are aggressively pursuing the commercialization of these advanced technologies in our product.”

At an analyst briefing last March, First Solar presented a technology roadmap anticipating a 22 percent research cell efficiency milestone in 2015. Today’s announcement indicates First Solar is steadily tracking to achieve that goal ahead of schedule.

First Solar has continued to transfer its success in the R&D lab into its commercially produced modules, increasing its average production module efficiency to 14.0 percent in the second quarter of 2014, up 0.5 percent from the first quarter of the year, and up 0.7 percent from FY2013. The company’s lead line was producing modules with 14.1 percent average efficiency at the end of the second quarter of 2014.

energy supply - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

First Solar Building Latin America’s Largest Solar Plant

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) today announced it has received board approval from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, for financing to support construction of the 141MW(ac) Luz del Norte solar power plant in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The loans, which are expected to close later this summer, clear the way for First Solar to proceed with construction planning at the site, which is near the city of Copiapo. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The OPIC board approved a loan of up to $230 million; the IFC board approved a $60 million loan.

The Luz del Norte project is the first of several projects First Solar has in its regional development pipeline, and will be the company’s initial project to start construction in Chile. The Chilean government’s National Energy Strategy includes expansion of the country’s renewable energy capacity to 20 percent of its total generated power by 2025. Energy from Luz del Norte will be supplied into the Chilean Central Interconnected System, contributing significantly towards this goal.

“The Latin American region has a growing need for innovative and efficient energy solutions right now,” said Tim Rebhorn, Senior Vice President, Americas for First Solar. “This investment support from OPIC and IFC is instrumental in bringing the project in Chile to life.”

Chile’s Atacama Desert receives some of the planet’s steadiest concentrations of direct sunlight, presenting ideal conditions for solar power generation. Widespread utilization of this tremendous resource is relatively new, and Luz del Norte represents an important advancement for development of solar energy in the region.

“The Luz del Norte project is an important step in furthering solar power development in Chile, where the potential for this clean, renewable resource is unrivalled,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “OPIC is proud to support this investment in Chile while helping an innovative American company like First Solar expand its operations and create new markets for its products abroad.”

“Chile is a global leader in developing solar resources as a low cost element of energy supply,” said Bernard Sheahan, IFC Global Head of Infrastructure. “This engagement with Luz del Norte and First Solar exemplifies IFC’s efforts to support cutting edge transactions in emerging markets’ infrastructure.”

Rebhorn said First Solar has been working closely with the Chilean national government, industry, regional authorities and the local community to design, develop and build the Luz del Norte project. He noted that particular effort has been placed on understanding community concerns about environmental impact; national interest in the technology related to connecting the project to the grid; and the broader industry’s power requirements, among other important considerations.

“Forming strong, mutually beneficial partnerships with invested constituents is the only way to build a solid foundation for long-term success in this region, and that’s what we are working toward,” said Rebhorn.

SolarPower

First Solar Will Build 150MW Facility in S. California

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) today announced that it has been selected by independent energy company Tenaska Solar Ventures to design and build the 150 megawatt (MW)AC Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West project near El Centro, California.

First Solar will provide full Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services on the project, employing its advanced thin film photovoltaic modules and single-axis tilt technology. The project sits on approximately 1,100 acres of previously disturbed land in Imperial County. Tenaska Imperial West is the second solar project in Southern California’s Imperial Valley developed, owned and managed by Tenaska. In November of 2013, First Solar completed construction on the 130MWAC Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South power plant for Tenaska.

“We are pleased to continue our relationship with Tenaska,” said Roger Bredder, First Solar’s Managing Director for U.S. Business Development. “This project will provide up to 800 jobs in the Imperial Valley at construction peak, and make a significant economic contribution to the local community. It will also provide the residents of Southern California with a reliable source of clean, renewable energy.”

Bredder said that the highly qualified local workforce that built Tenaska Imperial South over the past two years will provide a strong pool of experienced workers familiar with First Solar’s technology and construction methods.

First Solar has already started engineering and expects to begin construction later in 2014, with full commercial operation anticipated in 2016. San Diego Gas & Electric Company holds a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for all electricity generated by Tenaska Imperial West.

Tenaska is an energy company based in Omaha, Nebraska, with a proven track record of developing, constructing, owning, and operating state-of-the-art electric generating plants.

phoenix

Now is the time to invest in Arizona

It used to be when I traveled to different business meetings across the country, people would ask me about Arizona’s politics. While we still have reputation issues to repair, the questions I’ve been getting recently are more focused on the buzz they’re hearing about our growing technology sector.

There’s good reason Arizona is getting noticed for its growth. Over the last five years, Arizona has developed one of the most robust technology entrepreneurial ecosystems in the country. The state is home to five of Deloitte’s 2013 “Technology Fast 500” firms, specifically First Solar, LifeLock, Telesphere, Inilex and GPS Insight. Other startups that have been home grown in Arizona into industry leaders include Axosoft, GoDaddy, iCrossing, Infusionsoft, Insight Enterprises, LimeLight Networks and WebPT.

We were able to accomplish our strong entrepreneurial spirit in part by drawing the attention of the media and the state’s policy makers to the need to diversify our economy away from construction and climate into a knowledge-based economy with higher paying jobs. Our efforts resulted in a tax credit for qualified research and development that is the best in the nation and a successful angel investment tax credit.

A lot of other resources have been invested. Over a dozen business incubators and accelerators call Arizona home, providing resources to support technology entrepreneurs. In addition to graduating a vibrant workforce to fuel quality jobs, Arizona’s world-renowned universities and community colleges are also heavily engaged.

Arizona State University (ASU) runs the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative and the ASU SkySong Innovation Center was recently awarded one of the best organizations of its kind in the country. University of Arizona (UA) is helping create the technology of tomorrow in its Bridges/UA Bio Park and UA Tech Park that includes a Solar Zone. UA also participates in Startup Tucson – an organization dedicated to growing a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurship through educational events. Northern Arizona University fosters business growth through it Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and benefits from its affiliation with NASA. All of that bodes well for Arizona’s innovation economy.

Other efforts are focused solely on exciting people about technology and science. We just celebrated the third annual statewide Arizona SciTech Festival with over 300K people attending more than 500 events this year.

And although we have a long way to go, there’s a growing pool of capital. We’re home to two of the largest and top rated angel investor networks in the U.S. ─ ATIF and Desert Angels. The Arizona Commence Authority has created the Arizona Innovation Challenge that awards the most money in the country to the most promising entrepreneurs meeting technology challenges. Grayhawk Capital just raised $70 million in funds for early and growth stage technology investments. And Tallwave Capital recently announced it has deployed $500,000 in capital in early-stage ventures.

The 2010 census reports Arizona’s population at 6.4 million, with a median age of 35.9 years. The predicted growth rates for Arizona by the federal and state government expect that between 1.5 million and 3 million people will move to Arizona by the year 2020. That type of robust regional population growth combined with an improved U.S. economy translates into high potential for investors.

It’s true we enjoy more than 300 days of sunshine each year. But we offer a lot more than golf and spas. Venture capital sitting on the sidelines should put money into promising Arizona high tech firms and startup ventures.

Now is the time to invest in Arizona.

energy supply - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

First Solar Sets World Record for CdTe Solar Cell Efficiency

Tempe-based First Solar, Inc. announced it has set a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) solar cell conversion efficiency, achieving 20.4 percent conversion efficiency certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The record-setting cell was constructed at the company’s Perrysburg, Ohio factory and Research & Development Center.

This certified result bests the previous record of 19.6 percent conversion efficiency set by GE Global Research in 2013. Last April, First Solar and GE announced a solar technology partnership in which First Solar acquired GE’s CdTe solar intellectual property and secured a collaborative research partnership with GE’s R&D team. The partnership was formed to accelerate innovation in PV technology and accelerate solar module performance at manufacturing scale.

“This record marks another achievement in our mission to unlock the industry-changing potential of CdTe PV,” said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer. “We are demonstrating improvement in CdTe PV performance at a rate that dramatically outstrips the trajectory of conventional silicon technologies, which have already plateaued near their ultimate entitlements. The synergy realized in our partnership with GE also demonstrates the value of our consistent and strong investment in R&D. The advanced technologies and processes we developed for this record-setting cell are already being commercialized and will positively impact performance of our future production modules and power plants.”

First Solar’s new CdTe research cell conversion efficiency matches the research cell efficiency record of multicrystalline silicon, another technology used in the PV solar market.

First Solar has continued to transfer its success in the R&D lab into its commercial modules, increasing its average production module efficiency to 13.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 0.6 percent from 12.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The company’s lead line was producing modules with 13.9 percent average efficiency at the end of 2013.

Phil Schiller

Apple brings 700 jobs to Valley manufacturing plant

Apple Inc. says it will open a manufacturing plant in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa that will eventually employ 700 workers.

“Apple’s presence in the region will be a game-changer for the Greater Phoenix area, its innovation landscape and future ability to attract other high-tech companies,” said GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome. “Between their plans to hire 700 direct employees and run completely on renewable energy, I’m convinced Apple could not have chosen a better location than Mesa and Eastmark. This deal is the result of the cooperation and support of several parties, including Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri, City of Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, DMB Associates, the ACA and SRP, whose infrastructure will enable more projects to move forward in the surrounding area.”

The Cupertino, Calif., maker of the iPhone confirmed Monday that it is expanding its U.S. manufacturing operations in a former First Solar plant in Mesa. The city southeast of Phoenix already hosts a long list of high-tech manufacturing firms.

About 1,300 construction jobs will also be created as the First Solar plant designed to make thin-film solar panels is converted. The company sold the plant last month.

Apple spokeswoman Kristen Huguet says the plant will be powered with renewable energy provided by local utility Salt River Project.

Gov. Jan Brewer said Apple’s decision to come to Arizona is a sign that the state’s efforts to provide a pro-business climate are paying off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Solar Investments

First Solar buys S. Calif. power project

First Solar said Monday that it has purchased a 150-megawatt power project in Southern California.

Construction is expected to start this year and finish in 2014. The Tempe company said that the plant could generate enough electricity to power more than 60,000 average California homes.

First Solar Inc. bought the project, which is near El Centro, Calif., from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., energy investment firm Energy Power Partners and a third partner that it didn’t identify. It didn’t say how much it paid.

First Solar, one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world, also develops and builds large solar farms that generate electricity sold to utilities.

Its stock added 28 cents, or 1 percent, to $27.24 in afternoon trading.

The industry has in recent years been struggling with a steep drop in solar panel prices. Demand stagnated while manufacturing capacity increased and costs for raw materials plummeted.

image001

Dircks Moving rebrands itself

One of Arizona’s most respected commercial and residential moving businesses, Dircks, announced that it has rebranded its company name and logo from Dircks Moving Services to Dircks Moving & Logistics.  The move comes on the heels of one of Dircks’ most successful years in 2012–a year that saw a bolstered corporate commercial business segment for Dircks and a reinvigorated residential moving market.

Amidst a number of years when residential moves were slowing in Arizona, the Dircks organization recognized an opportunity to reexamine its business model and look for new growth areas.  The result is that Dircks found it could strengthen its corporate and commercial operations with Valley businesses such as Arizona State University, Cigna and First Solar, as well as business accounts outside of Arizona.

Dircks invested in its own infrastructure by dedicating a team to corporate and commercial services whose sole purpose is to streamline every aspect of a business move while increasing overall quality and customer satisfaction.  In the process, Dircks saw that it was not only moving a business from one place to another–or simply from one floor to another–it was providing full-scale logistics services.

“When we looked back recently at all of the events that have led up to the end of 2012,, we realized that the name ‘Dircks Moving Services’ wasn’t a perfect reflection of who we currently are,” said Executive Vice President, Rick Dircks.  “We had grown, we had moved forward.  We have always adhered to the highest standards of quality, and we realized that our name needed to say that.”

In late 2012, Dircks contracted its long-time public relations and marketing agency, Phoenix-based Agency G, to undergo an exhaustive rebranding study.  The two businesses came up with a new name and company logo they feel is reflective of everything Dircks has become.  It is descriptive of Dircks’ services, it conveys forward movement, and it instills renewed enthusiasm for Dircks’ customers, business colleagues and for its industry as a whole.

“Dircks has proven great value to the entire Mayflower system with the outstanding quality of their work,” said Mayflower CEO Rich McClure. “We applaud their continued efforts to diversify their business and congratulate them on their new brand.”

Added Rick Dircks, “While we know that we have gotten where we are today through hard work, determination and an unwavering dedication to quality, we also know much of our success could not be possible without the support of everybody who has been there through the economic ups and downs.  This is a new era for Dircks Moving & Logistics, and we are very excited about our future.”

First Solar

First Solar buys Chilean solar company

Solar panel maker First Solar has purchased Chilean solar development company Solar Chile as energy demand continues to rise in the region.

The companies provided no financial terms in announcing the deal on Wednesday.

First Solar Inc., which is based in Tempe, bought Fundacion Chile’s stake in the company. First Solar and Fundacion Chile created a strategic working alliance with each other in October 2011. Fundacion Chile will continue to provide consultation services.

Solar Chile has photovoltaic power projects totaling approximately 1.5 gigawatts in northern Chile. Its five employees will join First Solar.

First Solar shares finished at $31.02 on Tuesday. They have almost tripled from a 52-week low of $11.42 in June. They peaked for the past year at $50.20 last February.

Brossart Diane final 9314 5-29-12

Valley Forward Exands its horizon

Timing is everything, even when it comes to Mother Nature.

“In 2010, we got an $85,000 grant to look at some federal issues on sustainability,” says Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, which brings business and civic leaders together to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. “We were asked to target Arizona’s Congressional delegation and get them up to speed in regards to understanding a sustainability agenda for Arizona and what that meant.”

What grew from that seed was an initiative that had actually been germinating for more than a decade, Brossart says: taking the successful Marocopa County-centric Valley Forward and giving is a statewide focus. In August, Valley Forward’s board voted unanimously to to move forward with a business plan that will transition Valley Forward into Arizona Forward in January.

Brossart says the state is facing some serious issues related to the environment and the livability and vitality of Arizona’s cities and towns will be impacted by upcoming decisions related to:
* Land use planning and open space,
* A balanced multi-modal transportation system,
* Improving and maintaining healthy air quality,
* Solar and renewable energy technology,
*  Managing our water resources, and
* Protecting wilderness, parks, national monuments and other natural areas for Arizona’s tourism economy.

“As Arizona and the country recover from the Great Recession, a statewide dialogue is more important than ever,” says William F. Allison, a shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy. “The issues impacting us – water, energy, transportation, land use – involve the entire state rather than only the Valley. Arizona Forward will provide a forum to think outside the box and beyond the Valley.”

To get Arizona Forward to have its greatest statewide impact, Brossart and her staff connected with nine companies that had influence on communities along the Sun Corridor — the stretch of freeway that connects Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott and Flagstaff — to become charter members of Arizona Forward.

“The leaders of those companies have become our tour guides as we go into Pima County and Northern Arizona,” Brossart says. She points to Kurt Wadlington, employee-owner of Sundt Construction in Tucson, for opening doors for Arizona Forward to spread its wings into Southern Arizona.

“Southern Arizona already has a very strong environmental focus, but struggles with areas that are dependent on statewide engagement from both a funding and advocacy perspective,” Wadlington says. “(Valley Forward’s) shift (to a statewide focus) will provide Southern Arizona with added resources to coordinate its future growth in the larger context of the Sun Corridor.”

Experts agree that now is the perfect time for Valley Forward to shift to a statewide focus statewide because Arizona is at a turning point, economically and environmentally.

“There are major issues that affect the state like transportation; managing resources; and protecting the wilderness, parks, and national monuments,” says Alfie Gallegos, area sales manager for Republic Services. “These are not just environmental issues, but are issues that have an effect on Arizona’s economy statewide. I think Arizona is ready to start having more positive statewide conversations about finding ways to grow our economy in a manner that can be sustained and is environmentally friendly.”

Brossart says that while Arizona has had countless groups that have focused on making their communities better, Arizona Forward will be looking to help educate legislators become the glue that brings those regional organizations together in a spirit of cooperation and unity.

“So much of our goal is to drive a political agenda to the middle and bring folks on both sides of the aisle together,” Brossart says. “The issues that we focus on are sustainability and environmental. Everybody needs clean air, clean water, open space and parks. Those are the things that make a community viable, healthy and liveable. We all want that. Those aren’t political issues. But they do fall into a political arena that sometimes clouds the issues. But if we can be a reasoning voice of balance like we have been successfully in Maricopa County, if we can bring that statewide, it will be really good for Arizona — economically and environmentally.”

Valley Forward members expect the transition to Arizona Forward to foster additional collaboration and conversation on statewide issues, bring additional viewpoints on key issues and allow for a more global conversation.

“My hope is that we can, over time, have a collective vision that regardless of our own regional filters, we’re all in this together and need to find ways to move forward as one sustainable, economically successful state,” says Iain Hamp, community affairs representative, Wells Fargo Team Member Philanthropy Group.

Brossart says one of the biggest messages Arizona Forward will be trying to communicate is that making sound decisions about issues surrounding sustainability and the environment are good for business.

“If we make a case that shows the economic impact of parks and open space on the tourism industry, the business community will take notice and they are uniquely poised to deliver of that message and be heard,” Brossart says. “Parks groupies are great and they are important. But when the business community gets involved, people listen.”

Where Arizona Forward could have its biggest economic impact is on growth industries that rely on the state’s amazing natural resources.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of solar energy, as the clean, renewable energy source is experiencing massive growth and helping the state and country achieve greater energy independence,” says Patricia Browne, director of marketing and communications for SOLON Corporation in Tucson. “And Arizona has been at the center of this growth. This has been made possible not only by the companies developing the solutions, but by the state and local officials, Arizona-based businesses and individual residents who recognize the importance that solar plays in a number of ways such as a cleaner environment, economic development, and energy price stability. However, there are still challenges in making the adoption viable on a large scale, and Arizona Forward helps bring together the right players to help make this happen on a state level.”

Richard Mayol, communications and government relations director for Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff, says Arizona Forward will give members in northern Arizona the opportunity to not only have a voice in discussions that affect the state today, but in decisions that impact what Arizona will be like 20 years from now.

“We hope it will help create an economy that provides the opportunity for prosperity without sacrificing the environment,” he says, “and makes northern Arizona an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

And that is what Arizona Forward’s mission is all about: bringing business and civic leaders together in order to convene thoughtful public dialogue on statewide issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.

“All areas of the state will benefit, from urban to rural and suburban areas in between due to a coordinated and planned strategy for such essential elements as affordable energy, water, transportation, affordable housing, and a wide band of employment opportunities,” says Janice Cervelli, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. “All geographic, economic, and environmental sectors of the state will increasingly become part of a larger, interdependent, connected system.”

GOALS OF ARIZONA FORWARD

* Establish cooperative relationships with like-minded Arizona conservation organizations and facilitate collaboration on sustainability initiatives.
* Bring business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.
* Increase awareness of and interest in environmental issues initially in the Sun Corridor and then beyond, statewide, building on an agenda of land use and open space planning, transportation, air quality, water, and energy.
* Support efforts to promote the Sun Corridor as an economic development area incorporating sustainability and smart growth principles.
* Serve as a technical resource on environmental issues through Arizona Forward’s and Valley Forward’s diverse membership of large corporations, small businesses, municipal governments, state agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

ARIZONA FORWARD CHARTER MEMBERS
Arizona Community Foundation
First Solar
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
National Bank of Arizona
SOLON Corporation
Sundt Construction
The Nature Conservancy
Total Transit
Wells Fargo

FOUNDING MEMBERS: Access Geographic, LLC; Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; APS; Arizona Conservation Partnership; Arizona Department of Transportation; Arizona Heritage Alliance; Arizona Investment Council; Arizona State Parks Foundation; Arizona State University, Global Institute of Sustainability; Aubudon Arizona; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; Breckenridge Group Architects/Planners; Caliber Group; City of Tucson; Environmental Fund of Arizona; Fennemore Craig; Gabor Lorant Architects; Gammage & Burnham; Godec Randall & Associates; Grand Canyon Trust; Guided Therapy Systems; Haley & Aldrich; Intellectual Energy, LLC; John Douglas Architects; Jones Studio; Kinney Construction Services, Inc.; Lewis and Roca LLP; Logan Halperin Landscape Architecture; Pima County; RSP Architects; Southwest Gas Corporation; SRP; University of Phoenix; TEP / UNS Energy Corp.; The Greenleaf Group

customer.service

ASU Center becomes a resource to teach service

Customer service was once viewed as the cost of doing business.

“Across almost every industry, leaders are focusing on service as a way to compete in today’s competitive marketplace,” says Mary Jo Bitner, academic director for the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

But times have changed. Companies that are in search of new revenue streams are finding that in addition to providing great customer service, offering value-added services to their product lines are helping their bottom lines. And the help them make the most of the opportunities, many are seeking help from the ASU Center, which focuses on research and executive education in managing and marketing services.

“Customer demand and the competitive challenges posed by the commoditization of many products has pushed many goods-based companies to take another look at services as a source of revenue and profit,” says Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Services Leadership, who has spent the past 20 years tracking the growing importance of services as a product. “Many are following market leaders to become goods-and-services companies.”

For example, Boeing has broadened its offerings by adding the lucrative market of services to its aircraft manufacturing. The Hewlett Packard and Compaq merger created a new company whose major product is services. IBM’s impressive financials over the past decade — in shining contrast to its competitors — were largely the result of its service businesses.

“In 2001, we were launching our first fee-based service business,” says Steve Church, president of Avnet Integrated and chief corporate business development and planning officer. “We wanted to offer more services and solutions. We knew a lot, but there was a lot we didn’t know.”

Church says Avnet’s membership in the center — which concentrates on expanding service innovation by combining the latest scientific insights from the academic world with the best of business strategy in the real world — allowed the company to “build a culture of service excellence that focuses on the customer and gives each a great customer experience.”

The Center, which was created in 1985, remains the only one of its kind in the United States, devoted to research and education in the services field.  Its research findings form the foundation of the Center’s executive education program, attended by managers and executives of leading firms.  Member companies include AT&T, Charles Schwab and Co., Ford Motor Company, IBM, Mayo Clinic and others, who sponsor research, fund scholarships, host MBA student teams and participate in executive education.

Many member companies sponsor research that is published in academic journals, and shared at the Center’s executive education forums. Bitner, for example, has been studying the effects of self-service technologies (SST), working with Ford and a major pharmaceutical benefits management company.

“The Center is really a tremendous resource for any company that has a strategy to to improve customer serve or add services to augment its products,” Church says. “We learned that by getting our employees engaged in customer service, we built customer loyalty, it helped us compete, and it enhanced our financial performance.”

Untitled

AWEE presents 2012 Faces of Success

A formerly homeless veteran who lost his hearing from an explosion in Vietnam, an ex-offender who chose drugs over her children and today counsels individuals in similar circumstances, and a Baltimore transplant who had to rely on the financial support of family when she couldn’t find a fulltime job despite a steady work history will tell their turnaround stories and be honored at the 18th annual Faces of Success Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15 at The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.

The annual fund-raising luncheon supports Arizona Women’s Education & Employment (AWEE), a workforce development organization using a diverse range of evidence-based training and support services to advance Arizona’s workforce and change the lives of women, men, young adults and special populations through the dignity of work.

Also at the luncheon, Michelle King Robson, who overcame life-threatening health issues to start the widely praised social health website EmpowHER.com for women will receive the Jeanne Lind Herberger Award.

More than 700 people are expected at the luncheon, which is presented by Bank of America.  Registration and reception begin at 11 a.m.   The highly entertaining, rapid-fire program of giveaways, raffles and remarkably moving stories of success will be co-hosted by television personality Tara Hitchcock and Alfredo J. Molina of Molina Fine Jewelers.  Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton will make brief congratulatory remarks.

Molina also has donated a stunning pair of 18-karat white gold earrings with .39 carats of brilliant diamonds surrounding black onyx for a raffle.  The earrings are valued at $4,990.  Raffle tickets are $25 each or 6 for $100 and can be purchased at the event or online at www.awee.org.

Individual tickets for the Faces of Success Luncheon are $100 each and also can be purchased online or the day of the event.  Sponsorships are still available.

The highlight of the annual luncheon comes midway through the program when the three Faces of Success take the audience through their personal journeys from rock bottom to steady employment and self sufficiency thanks to AWEE programs, services and support.

The 2012 Faces of Success are:

• Craig Leighton, a U.S. Marine Corp photographer whose life fell apart after returning from Vietnam in 1974 deaf and angry.  Leighton eventually found himself battling alcohol and drug addiction, homeless and in jail.  “I needed help,” he said.  “Coming out of prison, you have a choice:  Go back to your old behavior or start over.  AWEE is what saved my life.”

• Vicki Rainey, the mother of two children who grew up in Phoenix living a “wonderful childhood” until the family moved to a new neighborhood.  That’s when she started making a series of bad choices with alcohol, drugs and criminal behavior and wound up homeless and in and out of prison.  Prison let her come out of the meth-induced fog she had lived in for months when she chose the drug over her kids.  She learned about AWEE in prison workshops and classes, rebuilt her self-esteem and her life and is now the marketing manager at Recovery Opportunity Center.  “The simple fact is, I wouldn’t be where I am today without AWEE.”

• Tanya Smith moved to Phoenix from Baltimore after her mother died.  Smith wanted warmth and sunshine.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t find permanent work and ran out of money between assignments through a temporary agency, needing help from family members.  Surgery complicated matters.   After getting on AHCCCS, she was referred to AWEE where resume writing and interview training keyed her turnaround.  Today, she’s working fulltime in the Home Modification Division of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

Jeanne Lind Herberger honoree Robson combines a successful track record as a businesswoman and entrepreneur with nearly two decades of civic and community leadership to lead one of the fastest-growing social health companies on the Web.  She started EmpowHER following her own personal struggle with a debilitating health issue and the challenges she experienced in finding the health resources she needed.  “I thought ‘If this happened to me, what is happening to women all over the world?’  At that moment, I decided I would dedicate my life to making sure no other woman would suffer as I had by creating the resources I wish I had when I was sick.”

Kathey Wagner, CEO, B-On The Obvious and Nicole Spracale, Senior Vice President, Jobing, are co-chairs of the 2012 Faces of Success Luncheon.  Bank of America is the Presenting Sponsor with additional support from: The Herberger Foundation, Bruce T. Halle Familiy Foundation, APS, B-On The Obvious, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Discover Financial Services, Jobing, EmpowHER.com, First Solar, Molina Fine Jewelers, SRP, State Farm, Lewis & Roca, MidFirst Bank, Wells Fargo, Avnet, Comerica Bank and University of Phoenix.

For sponsorship information, contact Chief Development Officer Jamie Craig Dove at jamiecraigdove@awee.org or by calling (602) 223-4333.  For ticket information, visit www.awee.org.

Arizona Energy Consortium - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

Arizona Energy Consortium – Power Brokers Leading The Charge

The Arizona Energy Consortium is establishing the energy roadmap to create a brighter economic future for Arizona. The following individuals are leading the charge.

Robert Bowling - First SolarRobert Bowling
Company: First Solar  

Position with Arizona Energy Consortium:
Co-Chair of the Workforce Development Committee, which focuses its efforts on current barriers to Arizona’s energy workforce development, as well as devising potential solutions to overcome such barriers.

Relationship to the energy industry:
25 years of power generation experience in Fossil, Hydro and PV.

Why he became involved with the AEC:
“Having always been ‘involved’ in various initiatives throughout Arizona, I saw the value that this consortium has towards the greater good for all Arizonans.”

Why he thinks Arizona needs the AEC:
“As a nation we all understand the various issues surrounding energy dependence. The Arizona Energy Consortium will help AZ be the leader in a variety of energy issues.”

Predicted impact the AEC will make on Arizona by 2022:
“Hopefully by making Arizona the leader in lost cost, sustainable energy production and a hub for energy innovations.”

Tekla Taylor - Golder AssociatesTekla Taylor
Company: Golder Associates, Inc.

Position with Arizona Energy Consortium:
Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, which is dedicated to growing the Arizona Energy Consortium in terms of membership recruitment, as well as promoting the AEC in the form of event planning and hosting. Members of this committee will be responsible for identifying members who could positively contribute to, as well as benefit from, involvement within the AEC.

Relationship to the energy industry:
Manager, Golder Energy Services US

Why she become involved with the AEC:
“Actively participating in AEC keeps us informed of the opportunities and challenges that face energy sector growth in Arizona thereby impacting our clients.”

Why she thinks Arizona needs the AEC:
“Collaboration among all stakeholders in the industry is critical to ensuring long term success and placing Arizona as a leader in the renewable energy market.”

Predicted impact the AEC will make on Arizona by 2022:
“Through design and implementation of innovative renewable market solutions, AEC will have a significant impact on market sector growth, diversity and economic development.”

Mary Wolf-Francis - DIRTT Environmental SolutionsMary Wolf-Francis
Company: DIRTT Environmental Solutions

Position with Arizona Energy Consortium:
Co-Chair of the Energy Efficiency Committee, which is responsible for reviewing energy efficiency programs, as well as current barriers to energy efficiency across a wide range of Arizona energy sectors (solar, natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear, wind, geothermal, etc.). Members are encouraged upon review of energy efficiency barriers, to develop potential solutions that would maximize energy efficiency and encourage future Arizona project development.

Relationship to the energy industry:
Business liaison for the State Energy Sector Partnership Grant that brought the Arizona Energy Consortium into fruition as part of the objectives in the grant.

Why she became involved with the AEC:
Brought companies in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainability and utilities together to discuss creating the AEC then passed the torch to Michelle De Blasi and Steve Zylstra at the Arizona Technology Council.

Why she thinks Arizona needs the AEC:
“Companies in Arizona need to work together to grow and sustain energy companies here in the state.

Predicted impact the AEC will make on Arizona by 2022:
“The AEC will be the catalyst for diversifying our energy companies here in Arizona to reduce our reliance on the grid.”

Chris Davey - EnviroMissionChris Davey
Company: EnviroMission

Position with Arizona Energy Consortium:
Co-chair of the Arizona Energy Consortium and co-chair of the Energy Roadmap Committee, which will focus its efforts on developing and implementing an Energy Sector Roadmap for Arizona. Documents such as, Arizona’s Solar Strategic Plan and Arizona Town Hall’s AZ’s Energy Future Report will be utilized in constructing the Energy Sector Roadmap.

Relationship to the energy industry:
As executive director of EnviroMission, he has been vital to the development of the first U.S. Solar Tower project in western Arizona. He has negotiated a number of Power Purchase Agreements, secured parcels of land with both governmental and private bodies, raised capital to deliver the unique Solar Tower technology and advocated on behalf of the solar industry.

Why he became involved with the AEC:
“I want to put something in place to make it easier for people to get done what I’m getting done now. I’m from 8,000 miles away, but I call Arizona home now and I want to make it a better place.”

Michelle De Blasi - Quarles & BradyMichelle De Blasi
Company: Quarles & Brady

Position with Arizona Energy Consortium:
Co-chair of the Arizona Energy Consortium and co-chair of the Energy Roadmap Committee, which will focus its efforts on developing and implementing an Energy Sector Roadmap for Arizona. Documents such as Arizona’s Solar Strategic Plan and Arizona Town Hall’s AZ’s Energy Future Report will be utilized in constructing the Energy Sector Roadmap.

Relationship to the energy industry:
She is chair of the firm’s Solar Energy Law Team and focuses her practice on guiding renewable energy projects from concept to completion. In addition, she practices in the area of environmental and natural resources law advising clients on federal and state air and water quality issues.

Why she became involved with the AEC:
“With its solar resource and geographic proximity to target markets such as California, Arizona has an opportunity to revitalize its economy by continuing to grow its clean energy sector. By combining business leadership with guidance for good public policy, the Arizona Energy Consortium will play an important role in helping Arizona achieve its clean energy sector expansion goals.”

Ann Marie Chischilly, Esq. - ITEP at NAUAnn Marie Chischilly, Esq.
Company: Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) at Northern Arizona University

Position with Arizona Energy Consortium:
Co-chair of the Public Outreach Committee, which is responsible for educating investors, developers, legislators, and the general public on the Arizona Energy Consortium and the energy industry.

Relationship to the energy industry:
“I began my work in the energy industry as an attorney with the Gila River Indian Community and founded their Renewable Energy Team in 2010. I began my position at NAU in April 2011 and have been developing the Tribal Clean Energy Resource Center, which will help tribes and Alaska Native Villages transition from fossil fuel based energy to clean and renewable energy. For 20 years, ITEP has become a national leader in training and educating tribes in the environmental mediums and has served more than 500 of the 565 tribes nationally.”

Why she become involved with the AEC:
“I want the 22 tribes of Arizona to be included in the process of developing the Energy Roadmap and seeking their input is essential to accomplishing the mission.”

Why she thinks Arizona needs the AEC:
“Arizona has many great organizations, but AEC captures all of them into one group and unites the renewable-energy sector. Becoming more organized and united will make Arizona a leader in this industry.”

Predicted impact the AEC will make on Arizona by 2022:
”The AEC will help Arizona become a leader in the renewable energy industry nationally.”

For more information on Arizona Energy Consortium, visit Arizona Technology Council’s website at aztechcouncil.org/committees/aec.

Go to related article – AEC – Creating an Energy Roadmap

AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

first solar

First Solar Names Antoun As COO

First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq:FSLR) today announced that Georges Antoun has been appointed Chief Operating Officer. Antoun will initially have responsibility for manufacturing, R&D, quality and product management. Reporting to Antoun will be Tymen DeJong, Senior Vice President of Global Operations; Raffi Garabedian, Chief Technology Officer; and Tom Kuster, Vice President of Product Management and Customer Support.

“Georges brings a depth of operational leadership experience that will help First Solar execute its strategy,” said Jim Hughes, First Solar CEO.

Most recently Antoun was a venture partner at Technology Crossover Ventures, a private equity and venture firm. Prior to joining TCV, he was the head of Product Area IP & Broadband Networks for Ericsson. He joined Ericsson in 2007 when Ericsson acquired Redback Networks, where he had served as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Operations. After the acquisition, Antoun was promoted to CEO of Redback. Prior to Redback, he spent five years at Cisco Systems, where he served as Vice President of Worldwide Systems Engineering and Field Marketing, Vice President of Worldwide Optical Operations, and Vice President of Carrier Sales. He has also held senior management positions at Newbridge Networks and Nynex (now Verizon Communications), where he was part of its Science and Technology Division.

Antoun earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a master’s degree in information systems engineering from NYU-Poly.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced thin-film modules. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module collection and recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment.

For more information about First Solar, visit www.firstsolar.com.

valley partnership - AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

Valley Partnership Former Chairmen Discuss Phoenix Development – Part 1

Valley Partnership is celebrating 25 years as Metro Phoenix’s premier advocacy group for responsible development. In looking back – and also looking ahead – AZRE magazine brought together six former chairmen to discuss goals the group has successfully achieved and challenges that lie ahead.

With the commercial real estate industry making a slow recovery from the Great Recession, the advocacy role undertaken by a group such as Valley Partnership is magnified. “The surge in commercial real estate is evident,” says Richard Hubbard, president and CEO of Valley Partnership. “The comments from our past chairs provide great direction to Valley Partnership for the next several years. “With the increasing activity, it is imperative we re-energize our advocacy efforts with particular focus on the local communities while always monitoring our state and federal governments for any issue that affects our industry.” Participating were John Graham (JG), Sunbelt Holdings, chairman in 1989; Dave Scholl (DS), Westcor-Vintage Partners, chairman in 1990; Clesson Hill (CH), Grayhawk Development, chairman in 1997 and 1998; Jim Pederson (JP),  The Pederson Group, chairman in 1999; Pete Bolton (PB), CBRE/Grubb & Ellis (Newmark Grubb Knight Frank), chairman in 2004; and Charley Freericks (CF), DMB Associates, chairman in 2006. Rick Hearn (RH) of Vestar, the current chairman, served as moderator.

RH: During the past 25 years, has the level of economic development undertaken by local governments and the state been inadequate, adequate or exceptional?

PB: Frankly it’s all three. Over the years, it’s been inadequate, and it’s gone to adequate, and then I think in some cases it’s been exceptional. It also depends on which state we compare ourselves with because some states are exceptional and then some states are just barely adequate. And then you can go in the opposite direction, say inadequate, compared to Texas, and some of the other big ones across the country. Overall, we are doing a better job today.

CH: I would agree. I think there is lack of funding these days and I think that education has suffered greatly and that is a major infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt. Not just here but everywhere, and as we move forward and embrace new technology, it is a new way of life as we look toward the future.

DS: When I looked at this question, I really focused on the side of economic development and “are cities making investments?” I think that a lot of ways the cities have been trying to operate with their arm tied behind their backs. The constitution and our legislators have never really given our local government a whole lot of choices in their tool boxes. With the limited tools they have in there, they have done a pretty good job. I think that the industry I have been in has had a lot of city participation in economic development, and I think that they have been pretty aggressive about getting the most out of what limited tools the state’s constitutional statues have given.

RH: Charley, your company was impacted by this exact thing at Eastmark (in Mesa) in regard to Apple. What are your thoughts?

CF: Well it was not just Apple. It happened to us positively with First Solar. We were able to compete and win there. And with Apple, to be in the mix, I’m where Pete was. It is an evolution where economic development has come a long way since 1987. I had to think about 25 years, and I didn’t know I had been in the business that long. I look at what has happened now as the communication level of real prospects is very high and people know they’re coming and looking, which in the old days you would hear about it and it was here and gone. I’ve been in that side of the business almost my entire career chasing prospects from out of state. We come in second place to states that want to write checks. When we lose, we lose because somebody wrote a check and throws money at it to the prospect. I’ve never been a huge advocate at writing big checks. It’s a complicated business. I think we are doing a lot better chasing these deals and being in the running and again the tool kit is very limited.

JG: I’m actually optimistic about many things and this is actually one of them. My view is that being a young state one of the things that we did probably an amateurish job in early on was in economic development. I think that was a maturity problem not a “we didn’t quite get it problem.” With what we have now with GPEC and ACA and trying to address some of our structural and political and legislative problems, we got a really good pipeline of stuff that is being looked at and is being professionally handled.

JP: Certainly economic development depends on how you define it. A lot of people think that dangling a check in front of a major company is going to bring jobs into the state. But as Clesson mentioned, it’s more than that. It is infrastructure investment; it’s education and venture capital.

RH: Has Valley Partnership had a positive effect of creating a better image for developers?

Pete Bolton - AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

Pete Bolton

JP: There is a word that has been overused but I think that it is applicable. In this case, that is sustainability — the sustainability of our communities. It directly relates to our industry because we plunk down projects, neighborhoods or communities, and we depend upon a standard of living that is directly dependent on the rents that we get for our properties. During recession times, construction prices go down, land prices go down, but you have to achieve the rents if you are going to be successful at the end of the day. What Valley Partnership has done, by emphasizing how development relates to a sustainable lifestyle in the various communities where we live, is to look more beyond the block of where you are developing. It’s looking at your community, looking at your neighborhood. Looking at the various infrastructure investments that are critical to the kinds of things we do. We manufacture a product. And to manufacture the product, you need certain things, at least in the shopping center business. You need good tools. You need quality neighborhoods. You need good infrastructure investments. All of those things that directly relate to the level of rents we are going to get. In that regard I think Valley Partnership over the past 20 years has been excellent. I think it’s an organization that has emphasized the sustainability concept.

JG: I think the short answer is yes, that is has improved the reputation of how people view the development industry. The other part of that is the role that Valley Partnership will never go away because inherently we are in a conflict relationship with neighborhoods and other people. No matter how good of a job we did, it’s always going to be viewed that way. I think we have changed the conversation from one that was always in essence an adversarial, to at least everyone understanding that it is a two- or three-legged stool at a minimum, and that things have to be done by more than consensus. It has to be more by partnership and good conversation. That is why Valley Partnership will always have a role to the extent of how we want to have it because no matter how good a job we do, we will have different rubs with different constituency groups. But I think the role we need to continue to take is being the group that is not adversarial, rather constructive in those conversations for solutions.

CF: I was more optimistic on this one. My immediate reaction was absolutely that my focus was on the government. As an industry dealing with all of the city, town and county issues for regulations of our industries locally, I think Valley Partnership’s reputation really had a big impact because we have rational and moderate voices coming through consistently saying, “Gee, your regulation here is either irresponsible or maybe needs a little tune-up or maybe you missed a big idea here.” So from the professionals within our industry that we deal with, staff level government in particular, I think our reputation over the past 20 years has improved radically. I’m with the other guys here. The challenge we face will always be in conflict with residents and neighborhoods, and we need to keep doing our jobs well to keep doing that and not be controversial.

DS: I agree. I think that whenever you look at an image, you have to talk about which audience you are talking about. I think among consumers or neighborhood groups and homeowners, I don’t know if they have enough regular engagement to really understand who Valley Partnership is. I don’t know if the developers’ image among the average fellow on the street has improved that much. I agree with Charley. I think we are front of mind when a city or a local government says, “We need input, or we are thinking about changing this part of our code.” I think we are one of the first people they think of to come to the table and have the dialogue; whereas before Valley Partnership, it was a very splintered industry, and I don’t think there was a common voice and more importantly a common set of ears that listened to cities when they needed have that dialogue, too. So I think it has been vastly improved.

PB: What Valley Partnership has really accomplished with the local municipalities is to provide them with a dependable, educated voice. I remember sitting on a board and something would come up and a local municipality would ask, “Can you guys put something together on this billboard issue?”, and we would have six very educated voices at the table later that afternoon. That just doesn’t happen in any other organization. From my side of the business (brokerage), that has been extremely positive. As soon as we get the local municipalities on board, which they are, the neighborhoods rarely follow, but they don’t have much depth of voice anymore because if the politicos are truly believing the intelligent voices of the marketplace, they have a tendency to be more objective.

CH: I think part of the sustainability of 25 years of leadership is that Valley Partnership has been able to maintain frontline guys and women who are involved in development and kept them passionate about Valley Partnership. It has never faded away or lost its image in the cities to know that if we come, we will get quality people stepping up and get engaged and deliver some kind of end product. I think it’s a tribute to the leadership inside Valley Partnership to maintain that constant level of quality people.

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For more information on Valley Partnership, visit Valley Partnership’s website at valleypartnership.org.

AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

Solar in Australia

First Solar To Provide Power Projects Under Australian Solar Flagships Program

First Solar announced it will design, construct and maintain two utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects totaling 159 megawattsAC (MW) for AGL Energy Limited as part of Australia’s Solar Flagships Program. AGL was selected as the successful proponent in the solar PV category of the program and will receive federal and state government funding to help deliver on its commitment to greater investment in renewable electricity generation.

The Australian Government’s Solar Flagships Program is one of a number of programs and market mechanisms providing unprecedented support for the development of a broad range and scale of solar energy projects and technologies in Australia. The Solar Flagships Program is offering funding to support the construction and demonstration of large-scale, grid connected solar (PV and thermal) power stations in Australia.

Under the program, AGL will develop a 106 MWAC project in Nyngan and a 53 MWAC project in Broken Hill, both in New South Wales. First Solar will design and construct the integrated PV power plants, using its leading engineering, procurement and construction services and its advanced thin-film PV modules for both projects. First Solar will also maintain both projects for AGL Energy for their first five years of commercial operation. The electricity produced by the projects will be sold under power purchase agreements to AGL Hydro Partnership, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL.

The projects will be supported with funding provided by the federal government and the state government of New South Wales under separate funding agreements.

“This is a significant step forward for the utility-scale solar industry in Australia—an order of magnitude increase in project size—and a testimony to the confidence our customers have in First Solar technology and its performance in some of the hottest and harshest conditions in the world,” said Jim Hughes, First Solar Chief Executive Officer. “These projects demonstrate First Solar’s ability to apply its vertically integrated capabilities to deliver competitive, comprehensive, utility-scale solar solutions in future sustainable markets. We look forward to working with AGL on more projects like this in the future.”

On an annual basis, the projects will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of at least 30,000 Australian homes. The projects are expected to provide approximately 350 GWh of energy annually.

The projects are expected to create approximately 450 jobs at peak construction. Construction is expected to begin on both projects in 2014, with commercial operation in 2015. AGL will be the majority owner of the project vehicle.

“AGL is delighted to be working with the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments, the people of Broken Hill and Nyngan, and our project partner First Solar to deliver these significant renewable energy projects. These projects represent a tremendous opportunity for AGL and the broader solar industry to begin the roll-out of solar power as a meaningful source of generation supply in Australia,” said Michael Fraser, AGL’s Managing Director.

AGL is one of Australia’s leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for investors, communities and customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has Australia’s largest dual fuel customer base. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia’s largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.

For more information on First Solar and Australia’s Solar Flagships Program, visit First Solar’s website at firstsolar.com and visit Australian Government’s website at ret.gov.au.