Wednesday, May 26, 2010

2 big solar projects mulled for W. Valley

by Rebekah L. Sanders The Arizona Republic May. 25, 2010 12:00 AM

Two solar arrays that could become among the country's largest are being planned in the West Valley.

Luke Air Force Base in Glendale is preparing to install solar panels this fall that would generate 60 percent of the base's electricity by 2011 and could eclipse solar projects at other U.S. military bases, according to Lt. Col. John Thomas, head of the base's civil-engineer squadron.

"We want to take care of the land we have and leave it better for tomorrow," he said.

Meanwhile, homebuilder DMB Associates is proposing a solar field nearly twice the size of Luke's on 200 acres at its Buckeye housing development Verrado, senior vice president of operations Tom Lucas said this week.

Verrado is near Interstate 10, west of 195th Avenue. Solon Corp., a photovoltaic solar-panel manufacturer based in Tucson, would supply the panels.

DMB's project is one of 50 renewable-energy proposals that Arizona Public Service is considering. APS had requested proposals for projects that would add to the utility company's alternative-energy portfolio.

APS would not say when a winning project would be chosen. Luke is not part of the APS proposals.

"We've cared about the environment ever since we started building master-planned communities," Lucas said. "We want to add solar energy to the portfolio of DMB."

The solar plans were touted as advances toward sustainability in the West Valley at a panel discussion May 18 sponsored by Valley Forward, a non-profit that promotes balancing economic development and environmental quality.

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, a panelist, noted the city's efforts to cut electricity use by replacing incandescent bulbs with more efficient lighting and partnering with a company that turns the city's landfill gas into power.

Scruggs advocated better statewide transportation planning to improve sustainability.

Funding for transit has plummeted with the economy and state budget cuts, forcing cities to reduce bus and transit services, she said.

2 big solar projects mulled for W. Valley

Real Estate News

HootSuite - Social Media Dashboard