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Arizona is currently third in the nation when it comes to installed solar capacity, but many residents would like it to overtake New Jersey and California, which hold the number two and one spots. Once the Solana Project outside Gila Bend is completed, developers say it will be the largest solar installation in the world, and will create about 85 solar jobs. However, solar power still faces strong opposition in Arizona’s government.
Over 90 percent of Arizonans want to expand their state’s solar capacity and create more solar jobs. That goal should be very attainable, since experts say the state has the highest solar insolation in the country. That means they get more direct sunlight radiation than any other state.
The sunlight is there, the population is enthusiastic, and everything looks ripe for a flood of solar jobs. Arizona was the first state to adopt a renewable energy standard (RES), and pledged to obtain 15 percent of their energy from solar by 2020. At the time (2007), that was ambitious. But today that RES is no longer impressive. Colorado’s is 30 percent by 2020. Hawaii’s is 70 percent by 2030. Pennsylvania’s is 18 percent by 2020.
But Arizona’s Republican-run state government is obstructing solar jobs and industry development. They have no intentions of raising the RES anytime soon. In fact, they recently lowered standards so that waste-to-fuel technology–which was specifically excluded from the initial standards because it’s too polluting–can be used toward the RES instead of solar. State Democrats did their best to block this development, but were outvoted by Republicans.
Arizona legislators have tried to pass multiple bills against the state’s RES, and have brought at least four lawsuits against it. Nevertheless, public sentiment and current numbers look good for solar jobs in Arizona.
For assistance with your solar jobs search, check out the Career Builder Resource Center at U.S. Green Technology. There you can get help crafting your resume, tailoring your job hunt, and connecting with employers who will share your values and appreciate your skills.
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