Southern Arizona is known for its rocky mountains and desert landscapes. Due to its geographical feature, Southern Arizona has created and has grown its own sustainable energy source, particularly, solar energy, making Arizona a fast-growing state second to Nevada (TripCart; Community Solar Energy Initiative 12). Today, solar energy is one of the sustainable energy sources that are widely used in Southern Arizona. Tucson, one of the huge cities of Southern Arizona, is specifically devoted to promoting sustainable energy practices. In fact, Tucson is one of the leaders in energy efficiency (TripCart). It has been dubbed as “one of 13 US Department of Energy selected Solar America Cities for 2007” (City of Tucson).
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Solar energy can be generated with the help of the sun. It has been tremendously helpful as solar energy can be converted to electricity through photovoltaic or solar cells or through solar power plants. In photovoltaic cells, sunlight is directly transformed to electricity. This way of transforming solar energy is commonly applied in watches, calculators, and lighted road signs. On the other hand, in solar power plants, solar energy is captured and then used to heat water which produces a steam that can supply a generator with power (Energy Information Administration [EIA])
Despite its usefulness, solar energy has some disadvantages. One is the inconsistency of the “amount of sunlight that reaches the earth” (EIA). The inconsistency of the sunlight is brought about by the time of the day, the location, and certain weather conditions. Another disadvantage is that the sun does not focus its energy in one place. This only means that a large area should be considered in collecting solar energy (EIA).
This essay says: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords expressed her aim to convert Southern Arizona into a Silicon Valley of solar energy. One of her step towards her goal is the launching of the Community Solar Energy Initiative. This initiative is focused on motivating collaborations and a state-wide cooperation, providing oversights and accountability of solar energy, and expanding solar markets in Southern Arizona (Community Solar Energy Initiative 11).
Tucson began and developed a Sustainable Energy Standards that is 50 percent efficient—more efficient than the Council of American Building Officials Model Energy Code. In Tucson City, commercial office buildings were designed and built with the use of energy-efficient and renewable products that are commercially available to achieve or go beyond the Sustainable Energy Standards. As a result, for over 30 years, Tucson has been recognized as a leader in the use and development of solar energy. Tucson’s achievements also include alternative building models that are energy efficient and sustainable development (Southwest Energy Efficiency Project [SWEEP]).
Tucson is still on the progress of creating exciting new ideas about solar energy. Tucson might one day be the sole supplier of electricity in the United States. There are also community solar programs that aim to promote sharing, helping, and supporting the community with regard to building or transforming their houses into solar energy efficient houses (Solar Institute Inc.).
The Southern Arizona community has been active in participating and promoting the use of solar energy. Investing in solar energy as an alternative source of energy in Southern Arizona is highly important due to the advantages that it can bring to the state of Arizona. Some of these advantages include lesser use of coal, the primary source of energy in South Arizona. By lessening the use of coal, environmental problems and issues will be lessened. Solar designs are now also being used in Southern Arizona. These designs can save a homeowner 50 percent of the costs of constructing a house.
As one of the greatest resources of solar energy in United States, houses in Tucson are capable of storing solar energy for the use of homeowners. The significance of using roofs with solar panels is that homeowners cut their electricity bills by 75 percent. Tucson can provide the whole Arizona states electrical needs. Imagine a small county in Arizona. If that small county is made into a solar energy valley, it can be enough to supply the electrical needs of the whole United States (Huddy).
Solar energy is so abundant that it can supply even the energy needs of the whole universe. Hence, the inclination of Southern Arizona to solar energy alternative is a great move. It creates a big impact to the nation as a whole. If Southern Arizona will be made as solar energy capital, the whole nation will benefit greatly from the energy source it will produce. The Southern Arizona solar energy alternative can also be a good role model for other states to conduct, plan, and build their own alternative energy resource. Another implication of using solar energy as an alternative is that it poses the possibility of no longer relying on oil as a source of energy.
Currently, United States is one of the biggest consumers of oil in the world that accounts for 25% of the world’s oil production (Myers). For this reason, the American government gives federal tax credits so that everyone will use sustainable and renewable energy source like solar energy. Thus, developing solar energy as the primary energy source can help the country and its citizen save a huge amount of cost.
Having a sustainable and renewable energy source is a gift that everyone should value. Renewable energy sources are just around the corner waiting to be discovered and developed. Continuous research and support are needed to patronize renewable energy sources as an alternative to oil and other non-renewable sources.
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