Investing in infrastructure is an opportunity to imagine and build a better future for everyone. The influx of federal dollars from the recently-adopted Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation chance to imagine what a better future for Arizona looks like and then to make it real.
New federal funds have enormous potential to save residents and businesses money on energy and transportation, create new jobs, and expand prosperity – while also improving our health and protecting our climate. However, how local governments choose to implement new policies will have a large effect on their overall impact. We, a coalition of 14 clean energy, energy efficiency, community health, and environmental justice groups, write to ask you to maximize the benefits of this unprecedented opportunity and to steer our region toward a better future.
Specifically, we urge you to identify, direct federal funding towards, and maximize public participation in projects and programs that will:
Opportunities to deliver these kinds of benefits to the region and state are plentiful within the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. For example, states and local governments can:
Successfully implementing the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will require coordination and cooperation across all levels of government. Our organizations stand ready to assist with the task at hand. We look forward to meeting with you and your staff to help identify opportunities to increase benefits, connect your staff with grant-writing assistance, support your funding applications, or discuss your investment or synergistic policy plans. Additionally, please take a look at the resources and assistance available through the Local Infrastructure Hub, including a grant application bootcamp for small- to medium-sized cities. (localinfrastructure.org)
We look forward to working with you to maximize the benefits of this unprecedented investment in the future of our region.
For Immediate Release: August 12, 2022
Arizona’s solar community applauds passage of Inflation Reduction Act
Phoenix, AZ – Arizona’s solar community, including the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA), Solar United Neighbors Action, and Vote Solar, celebrated the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act on Friday. Among many provisions, the landmark legislation will extend and expand tax credits over the next decade for homeowners and businesses installing solar panels, as well as large-scale clean energy development. The bill earned support from a majority of Arizona’s Congressional Delegation, including Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, and Representatives Gallego, Grijalva, Kirkpatrick, O’Halleran, and Stanton. It now goes to President Biden for his signature.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is a huge win for anyone that wants to use solar power in Arizona,” said Bret Fanshaw, Arizona Program Director with Solar United Neighbors Action. “By making solar more affordable for Arizona families, households will directly reap the benefits with lower electric bills for decades to come. We applaud Arizona’s leaders who supported the bill, especially Senators Sinema and Kelly.”
The legislation increases the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit for residential solar installations from 26% to 30%, beginning this year and extending through 2032. This will lower the cost of an average home solar installation in Arizona by around $6,000. It also makes battery storage technology eligible for tax credits as a standalone resource.
“More solar and storage investment in Arizona will mean tens of thousands more jobs in the renewable energy sector,” said Autumn Johnson, Executive Director with AriSEIA. “With the passage of this bill, Arizona is poised to use our ideal climate and existing solar industry to continue to lead the country on the deployment of solar power.”
In addition to expanding and extending residential tax credits, the bill also provides direct cash payments to tax-exempt organizations installing solar. Traditionally, tax-exempt entities like nonprofits, schools and local governments have not had direct access to federal solar incentives. Rural small businesses and agricultural producers installing solar will also benefit from an expansion of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP provides grants that can cover up to half the cost of an eligible rural solar project. The Inflation Reduction Act also includes a $7 billion EPA grant program to enable deployment of zero-emission technologies in lower-income and environmental justice communities.
“We are energized by the solar components within the Inflation Reduction Act. The direct pay and REAP provisions help to reduce barriers to solar for communities and marginalized groups,” said Yara Marin, Regional Director for the Interior West at Vote Solar. “However, we recognize that this bill does not remove every barrier to solar access. Vote Solar will continue to work at the state level to ensure solar for all.”
At the same time the bill is poised to make transformational investments in solar and other clean energy resources, it also has significant shortcomings, such as potential for new fossil fuel development which has an outsized negative impact on historically marginalized communities. Advocates recognized the need for federal, state, and local government agencies to ensure the bill delivers meaningful results to all Arizonans. As the sunniest state in the country and a burgeoning hub for clean energy technologies from solar panels to battery storage and electric vehicles, Arizona is poised to reap the benefits of this historic $370 billion investment in clean energy and a healthy climate.
Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) is a 501(c)(6) trade organization and the state chapter of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). AriSEIA works to develop and support policies that create opportunities to advance Arizona’s economy through solar energy and storage. We advocate for sustainable job creation and encourage utilization of Arizona’s greatest natural resource, the sun.
Solar United Neighbors Action is a national 501(c)4 nonprofit. SUN Action represents solar homeowners and everyone who wants to benefit from solar energy. We are fighting for a clean, resilient, and equitable energy system. We do this by putting rooftop solar at the cornerstone. Our grassroots network of solar supporters communicates with lawmakers to implement the policies that will make this vision a reality.
Vote Solar is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Vote Solar works to remove regulatory barriers and implement key policies needed to bring solar to scale. Vote Solar works to realize a 100% clean energy future through a solutions-driven, people-first approach.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema
333 E. Camelback Road, Suite 200
Phoenix, AZ 85018
RE: Support for the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
Dear Senator Sinema,
The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association’s (AriSEIA) mission is to develop and support policies that create opportunities to advance Arizona’s economy through solar energy and storage. AriSEIA advocates for sustainable job creation in deployment of solar and complementary technologies and collaborates with stakeholders to encourage utilization of Arizona’s greatest natural resource: the sun.
We write to encourage you to vote “yes” on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This legislation will provide much needed funding and incentives to advance our transition to a clean energy economy. Renewables are a critical component in that energy transition. In addition to supporting a robust solar supply chain, the IRA will bring new jobs to Arizona, as well as the potential for significant dollars of additional economic development and investment in our state. Princeton’s REPEAT Project estimates that the IRA will create 65,000 new jobs in Arizona in the renewables sector by 2035. It will also save Arizona consumers approximately $360 per household on energy expenses by 2030.
AriSEIA represents approximately sixty companies already doing business in Arizona that are ready and willing to ramp up their operations and increase their investment. Solar already provides more than 8,000 jobs in Arizona and we look forward to that continuing to grow. Our members engage in every aspect of the solar supply chain, and they are eager to get to work doing even more to promote our economy, our environment, and our residents with the passage of this historic legislation. Additional renewables deployment also means Arizona’s electric system will use less water, which is critical as we face unprecedented water shortages, because solar uses considerably less water than thermal electricity generation.
Voting “yes” on the IRA is a vote for the clean energy transition and the companies and workers in Arizona that make it happen. Please support the Inflation Reduction Act.
/s/ Autumn T. Johnson
June 7, 2022
The Honorable Mark Kelly
516 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Kelly,
Last year, we wrote seeking your support for a robust energy tax package that would help the solar industry meet our nation’s climate goals. Now, as the Senate gets closer to considering reconciliation legislation, we are asking for your active support in getting this measure over the finish line. To create jobs and economic prosperity for millions of Americans, we ask for your strong support for passage of the reconciliation energy tax package that will spur solar and clean energy in Arizona, including a 10-year extension of the investment tax credit (ITC). Extending the ITC and adding the option to utilize the credit directly is critical to Arizona’s solar development.
Arizona is an incredible solar state, ranking fifth nationwide in overall solar installed, and second in solar energy potential. This has resulted in tremendous economic growth and future potential for Arizona businesses. Hard work, small business ingenuity, and an abundance of sun has made Arizona home to more than 300 companies and more than 7,300 jobs working to advance solar innovation and energy freedom. There are multitudes of young people who are looking to enter careers in solar, thanks in large part to the excellent programs at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. These jobs range across multiple fields, including design, development, construction, and operations & maintenance. The jobs created by this growing industry span the range of professional opportunities, from immediately available jobs that require no advanced education to those that utilize a PhD.
A wide range of non-solar businesses in Arizona are also benefitting from the clean energy economy. In towns, communities, and urban areas, solar is driving down company costs and saving businesses money. In rural areas, ranchers are utilizing solar to save on electricity costs, diversifying farm income and assisting with irrigation. And for families across the state, solar helps save money on home energy bills. Solar contributes not just to national energy independence – it helps small businesses and families with financial independence and stability.
Despite tremendous progress in states like Arizona, the United States is falling behind on efforts to meet critical climate goals. Arizonans can benefit from continued investments in the state’s solar energy economy, contributing towards meeting our nation’s climate goals while providing local jobs and reliable economic growth for our state. We strongly urge you to work towards the passage of a robust climate reconciliation package that includes a long-term extension of the solar ITC along with direct pay, to allow businesses to plan for a much larger clean energy buildout than is possible under current policy. We also ask for your continued support of a standalone energy storage credit to help the U.S. meet our energy needs and enhance the resilience of our electricity supply. Additionally, the manufacturing provisions in the legislation ensure that there will be a boom in domestic solar manufacturing.
We understand that as the Senate considers a reconciliation package, officials will weigh budgetary issues. The investment tax credit is fiscally prudent and contributes to rapid and needed economic growth. Not only does the ITC save money for families, businesses, and schools, it is an anchor that leverages further critical private sector investment.
We appreciate your support and look forward to hearing from you.
Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA)
*More than 80 cosigners
**Identical letter sent to Senator Sinema
AriSEIA signed on to a petition drafted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Solar United Neighbors, Open Markets Institute, Energy and Policy Institute, and Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The petition asks the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the electric utility industry for widespread abuses. These include bribery, fake dark-money campaigns, and denying customers access to renewable energy. More than 230 consumer, environmental and public interest groups signed the petition. You can read the petition and press release below.
AriSEIA has called on Arizona House of Representatives members to join in a joint letter from the House to the Department of Commerce to issue a swift preliminary determination to protect US solar jobs and reach climate goals. You can see similar content from Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), below.
April 21, 2022
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
RE: Auxin Solar Tariff Petition
Dear President Biden:
We write to express our serious concern regarding the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) initiation of an anti-circumvention investigation in response to a petition filed by Auxin Solar. Commerce’s decision to launch this investigation is needlessly causing immediate and serious harm to the U.S. solar industry. We respectfully request that your Administration issue an appropriate, expedited preliminary determination, consistent with Commerce’s inherent legal authority.
This petition has already had implications in Arizona. Salt River Project (SRP) filed a force majeure letter regarding a solar project last week in a docket at the Arizona Corporation Commission seeking to add nearly a GW of new gas. Arizona Public Service (APS) raised the concern over cost uncertainty of solar in its most recent resource plan advisory council meeting in the context of its forthcoming all-source request for proposals (ASRFP). Now is not the time to make the clean energy transition more costly. We need to be doing all we can to transition away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
We share your goal of increasing domestic solar manufacturing. Unfortunately, domestic solar panel production capacity is currently less than 20% of annual demand. It will take time and smart policy to expand domestic solar manufacturing, and we stand ready to work with you to address this issue.
The subject countries Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand are the source of more than 80% of solar panel imports into the United States and 54% of total U.S. panel supply. The ongoing investigation could subject these imports to tariffs ranging from 50% to 250%. Further, duty liability is typically applied retroactive to the date Commerce initiates an anti-circumvention investigation, which was April 1, 2022. As a practical matter, importers are not going to risk this level of duty exposure, and solar customers are unable to absorb these massive and unanticipated costs. As a result, solar panel shipments to the U.S. are increasingly being placed on hold and orders are being cancelled.
The results have been predictable. Solar companies are struggling to access the panels they need to finish ongoing projects and begin new ones. If this situation persists, we are going to lose more than 70,000 jobs in the U.S. solar industry, including 11,000 manufacturing jobs. The imposition of tariffs will also lead to an annual loss of 16 GW of solar deployment, devastating the U.S. solar industry and our nation’s ability to address climate change.
The anti-circumvention petition is based on the false notion that the production of solar cells is a minor or insignificant process. In fact, solar cell production is a sophisticated manufacturing operation and the most important step in the production of solar panels, as Commerce itself has determined on many occasions. An affirmative finding would thus improperly overturn more than a decade of established Commerce precedent.
Based on the foregoing, we respectfully request that your Administration account for the economic damage, negative policy impacts, and legal flaws in the Auxin petition and render an expedited preliminary determination. Tens of thousands of American jobs are depending on a just and expeditious result.
Autumn T. Johnson, JD, MBA
Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA)
Cc: Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo
March 11, 2022
U.S. Economic Development Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Suite 71014
Washington, DC 20230
RE: Coal Communities – Build Back Better Regional Challenge
Dear Economic Development Administration Representative,
We submit this letter jointly on behalf of Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA), Solar United Neighbors (SUN), and Vote Solar in support of the Hopi Tribe’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant application.
The solar industry is an essential part of the U.S. and Arizona’s economy. As of Q3 2021, over 113.5 GW of solar has been installed nationwide, representing over 230,000 Americans working in the solar industry. To date, Arizona has 5.2 GW of installed solar capacity representing nearly $14 billion in total solar investment in the state. In addition, the solar industry provides 7,346 jobs within the state, ranking 5th in solar jobs throughout the country.
Our organizations believe in Hopi’s vision to rebuild their economy. We have witnessed the impact of coal plant closures in Arizona and have had the opportunity to meet with tribal members and organizations. We also understand Hopi’s EDA grant application and believe in their vision to rewrite their energy story. It is our understanding that the Hopi Tribe is working to develop and construct a large-scale solar facility to transition the Hopi Tribe beyond the closure of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) and Kayenta Mine. In addition, we understand that the Tribe will pursue local clean energy infrastructure projects to improve reliability on the reservation, as well as a workforce development program that leverages the construction projects to train Tribal Members for clean energy jobs.
Our organizations are committed to supporting Hopi through our networks and members. Our networks include solar contractors, installers, manufacturers, distributors, consultants, engineers and designers, residential and commercial system owners, developers, universities, solar supporting businesses, nonprofits, and members of the public. We strongly encourage the EDA to award phase 2 funding to Hopi Utilities Corporation to support the Tribe to deliver these exciting infrastructure and economic development projects through the Build Back Better program.
AriSEIA’s mission is to develop and support policies that create opportunities to advance Arizona’s economy through solar energy and storage. AriSEIA is Arizona’s largest trade association for the solar industry and is part of the national Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). We advocate for sustainable job creation in deployment of solar and complementary technologies and collaborate with stakeholders to encourage utilization of Arizona’s greatest natural resource, the sun. SUN is a national nonprofit composed of a community of people building a new energy system with rooftop solar at the cornerstone. It helps people go solar, join together, and fight for their energy rights. SUN envisions a clean, equitable energy system that directs control and benefits back to local communities, with solar on every roof and money in every pocket. Vote Solar’s mission is to make solar a mainstream energy resource across the U.S. Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower the electric grid with clean energy. It works to remove regulatory barriers and implement key policies needed to bring solar to scale.
Autumn T. Johnson
Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA)
Western Region Director
Solar United Neighbors (SUN)
Interior West Regional Director
Arizona State Representatives Daniel Hernandez and Morgan Abraham Join Solar Power Leaders to Call for A Renewable Energy Future and Urge Sen. Mark Kelly to Support Significant Climate Investments
Speakers highlight the importance of solar investments to Southern Arizona’s growing clean energy industry
(Tucson, AZ) – Today, Arizona State Representatives Daniel Hernandez (D-2) and Morgan Abraham (D-10) joined solar power advocates gathered for a press conference to call on the U.S. Senate to pass significant investments in climate and clean energy to support the state’s growing clean energy industry. This event was sponsored by Solar United Neighbors Action.
In late 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives delivered for the American people with its historic vote to approve $550 billion in climate investments. This included landmark investments in climate change, clean energy, justice, equity, families, and communities. The speakers thanked Senator Mark Kelly for leading on clean energy growth and solar power, and urged him to continue to fight for Arizonans by supporting critically needed investments to address the climate crisis, increase the adoption of solar power in Tucson, and drive growth in Arizona’s renewable energy sector.
“When it comes to confronting the climate crisis, our leaders are responsible to do everything in our power to protect both the lives and livelihoods of our constituents,” said State Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D-2) “The results we’ve already achieved at the state level and in cities like Tucson illustrate that an economy that is more resilient to climate change can also be one that creates better-paying jobs and sets up Arizona’s cities for decades of high-tech economic growth. We know that climate change and economic growth are top of mind for Mark Kelly, and we need his help to secure the votes needed to pass this transformational climate funding through the Senate.”
“Arizonans are already battling climate change in the form of worsening air quality, more extreme heat, and increasingly frequent potential droughts,” said State Rep. Morgan Abraham (D-10). “There’s broad awareness in this state that taking creative and committed action to move toward more clean energy is of critical importance, and the data is also clear that this transition has the potential to promote entrepreneurship and to create tens of thousands of high-quality long term jobs across Arizona in the process. Mark Kelly has proven time and again that he is a leader who puts science, pragmatic problem solving, and the safety of his constituents first, and we’re counting on him to fight for us to pass this critical climate funding.”
Speakers stressed that time is running out to address the climate crisis. Climate change is making extreme weather events more frequent and severe with communities across the state paying the price. From 2010 to 2020, Arizona experienced 13 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages. More than 40% of Americans experienced a climate change-fueled extreme weather event in 2021 alone.
"Going solar helps families save money by taking control of where their electricity comes from," said Adrian Keller, Program Associate with Solar United Neighbors Action. "Congress has an opportunity to help more Arizonans benefit from solar energy. It should take it. In November, the House passed a bill with important investments that will ensure solar's benefits are shared by rural and underserved communities across the state. These investments will create good local jobs. Now, it is up to the Senate to come together to pass these needed measures."
These investments in clean energy will not only help fight climate change but also will bring massive economic growth to Arizona. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, clean energy jobs were growing faster than the economy as a whole. As of 2021, there were more than 56,000 Arizona residents working in clean energy. Passing the $550 billion in climate investments will add nearly 83,000 jobs in Arizona over the next five years.
“Arizona’s solar industries have already proven we can grow fast to meet ambitious capacity goals and create thousands of high-quality, long term jobs in this state,” said John Mitman, President of Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association. “Now, the country has a pivotal opportunity to expand on that progress on an unprecedented scale. This is not only critical funding for the climate fight, but also $550 billion of incentives and investments that will fuel cutting edge industries, foster entrepreneurship across this state, and create tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs over the next five years. The House did their job – now we need the Senate to step up and pass this bill.”
“The people of Arizona have been on the front lines of the climate crisis, and there is a clear popular will behind the measures that passed the House earlier this winter,” said Duane Etiger, of Sustainable Tucson. “This is long overdue funding that will fuel a revitalization and realignment of Arizona’s economy as we create thousands of jobs electrifying dangerously carbon-dependent transportation and broader energy use. These are investments in sustainability, but they are also investments in economic justice, in inidigineous communities and communities of color, and a more prosperous future for our state as a whole. We’re grateful for Mark Kelly’s past leadership on climate, and we’re counting on him to follow the science and champion this bill on behalf of Arizona.”
A video of the in-person press conference can be found here.
The event was held at The Historic Y in Tucson, Arizona. The Historic Y is the premier center for the arts, education, human rights, and social and environmental justice in Southern Arizona. In 2017, The Historic Y installed a 65.21 kW SunPower PV Solar System on the building’s rooftops that in 2018 accounted for approximately 45% of The Historic Y’s electric consumption.
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