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New report shows Ariz. leadership in decade of U.S. renewable energy gains

Advocates call on Arizona Corporation Commission to continue progress
For Immediate Release

Arizona ranks third in the nation for growth in solar energy production since 2010, according to a new report released today by Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center. The project, Renewables on the Rise 2020, documents and compares the growth of five key clean energy technologies in each state over the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency and electric vehicles. Arizona has seen a 46-fold increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun since 2010, and is also seventh in the nation for gains in battery storage capacity since 2010.

"Arizona's advances in solar and storage offer proof positive that we are in the midst of clean energy's ascent as the power of the twenty-first century," said Emma Searson, 100% Renewable campaign director with Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center. “The progress of the last ten years -- thanks in part to energy rules that have required  renewable energy commitments -- should give state leaders the confidence to aim even higher and continue picking up the pace. Passing new, more ambitious energy rules in Arizona would help ensure continued momentum.” 

In addition to top-ranking growth in solar energy and battery storage, Arizona also makes the top third of U.S. states for improvements in electricity efficiency since 2010 as well as for cumulative electric vehicle sales and electric vehicle charging stations. However, recent changes to key rooftop solar policies have slowed the rate at which Arizona households are installing solar each year. 

“Arizonans stand ready to reap the benefits of powering our communities with more solar energy,” said Bret Fanshaw, Arizona Program Director with Solar United Neighbors. “It’s a shame that since the ACC allowed utilities to end net metering, less and less solar is being installed on the homes of APS customers each year. We need to make sure Arizona’s path to 100 percent clean energy provides opportunities for all Arizonans to own and control their energy use.” 

Beyond highlighting states that have made the most progress in adopting renewable energy technologies, the study also shows the rapid gains achieved overall nationally. In 2019, the U.S. produced 30 times more solar power and more than triple the amount of wind energy than it did in 2010. In addition to the growth in renewable energy, utility scale battery storage increased 20-fold since 2010, energy consumption per person declined thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and more than one million electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. 

“This report offers a timely reminder that clean energy technologies have risen to the occasion, and are already delivering for millions of Americans and Arizonans,” Searson said. “Arizona is so much closer to a clean, renewable energy future than it was ten years ago, and needs strong leadership and policies to ensure that the next decade brings even more progress. Without action, neighboring states will take Arizona’s place as a renewable energy leader in the near future.”

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Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit www.environmentarizonacenter.org