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Stanton: We can lead Ariz. to a better economic future

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Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 3:45 pm

The words “solar” and “Arizona” should be a no-brainer when we think of our state’s most powerful and abundant resource — the sun. With about 300 days of sunshine a year, we should be the leading source of solar energy in the country. We’re on our way.

Phoenix, in partnership with National Bank Arizona and APS and SRP, recently launched Solar Phoenix 2, the largest city-sponsored residential solar program.

This program puts solar panels on 1,000 roofs in the city and saves families 10 to 15 percent in energy costs each month. It creates more than 150 jobs in the Phoenix area and infuses $25 million into our economy.

This is good energy, literally, for Phoenix.

Just like all cities nationwide, Phoenix is rising out of this recession, and we’ve got to lead our state into a sound and stable economic future with bright ideas that last for future generations.

Phoenix’s housing market and other industries didn’t survive the economic turmoil and are just now beginning to rebuild themselves. Our economy took a massive hit because we depended on those industries. I don’t want this to happen again. We’ve got to stop the boom-and-bust cycle and find ways to boost our economy so it weathers economic ups and downs.

Phoenix has a strong track record of embracing innovative energy opportunities:

• ENERGIZE Phoenix. U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, partnered with our city and Arizona State University in embracing and implementing energy efficiency along our Light Rail corridor. We are making strides in saving energy and saving citizens money.

• We recently installed 16,000 solar panels at Sky Harbor Airport. That reduces our energy use and will save nearly $235,000 a year.

• Solar in Arizona has grown more than 300 percent from 2010-2011 and there’s more to come.

• As mayor, I am committed to sustainability for Phoenix and our region. Sustainability is more than a checklist, it’s a strategy and a way that we can move forward.

Solar is an easy answer, but we’ve got to do better. We should be leading the nation in solar, and the United States should be leading the world in solar, not China. We should be energy independent and these types of programs help us create our own energy economy — not leave us dependent on foreign oil.

We took a giant step forward.

This couldn’t be possible without the visionary leadership of Secretary Chu. He is leading the charge to invest in clean energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create economic opportunity.

Be ready. Solar Phoenix 2 is just the beginning of my unwavering commitment to changing the energy conversation, and with your help, we can lead Arizona to a better economic future.

• Greg Stanton was elected mayor of Phoenix in 2011.

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