Tucson Council Member Kevin Dahl, Solar Business and Nonprofit Community Leaders Highlight Tremendous Opportunity to Grow Arizona’s Solar Industry
Leaders Highlight How Arizona Solar Businesses, Nonprofits, and Consumers Can Benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act & Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
(TUCSON, AZ) – Today, Tucson Council Member Kevin Dahl joined Frank Velásquez Jr., Board President of The Drawing Studio, Inc.; Tamora Muir, Tucson Resident and Rooftop Solar Homeowner; Adrian Keller, Arizona Program Director, Solar United Neighbors of Arizona; Robert Neifert, Director of Business Development, Solar Gain Inc. and Co-Chair of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association’s (AriSEIA) Public Policy Committee to highlight the incredible opportunities to grow Arizona’s clean energy economy, made possible by the solar grants and incentives included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Speakers shared how these investments will cut energy costs for Arizona families, create clean energy jobs, and help grow Arizona’s clean energy economy.
Southern Arizona residents and businesses will benefit from any number of investments outlined in the IRA. These new incentives will help families switch to cheaper, cleaner electricity by offering tax credits cutting 30% off the cost of rooftop solar. Experts estimate that an additional 150,000 Arizona households will install rooftop solar panels specifically because of the investments in the IRA. The IIJA and IRA will also allow for greater adoption of solar by nonprofit organizations, as well as rural and economically disadvantaged populations.
“Even as the clean energy industry has exploded in our state, a lot of Arizonans have been left out,” said Tucson City Council Member Kevin Dahl of Ward 3. “But new solar incentives include a 30% tax credit off the cost of installation, and another 30% for stand-alone battery installation. This will be transformative for all Tucson homeowners and nonprofits, especially those previously priced out.”
In addition to low-income households, the new incentives also address a previous gap in benefits for nonprofits. The IRA bill includes $20 billion allocated for nonprofit organizations to implement projects that cut pollution and energy costs. The bill also includes $7 billion for tribes, municipalities and nonprofits to install rooftop or community solar energy in disadvantaged communities.
“The Drawing Studio is a great example of how nonprofits can better help our communities thanks to clean energy investments,” said Frank Velásquez Jr., Board President of The Drawing Studio Inc. and Founder of 4 Da Hood. “The direct pay assistance will allow us to go solar, and lower energy costs mean more resources dedicated to our programming that lift up Arizonans.”
The IRA also increases funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides grants and loans to farms and small businesses in rural America that invest in clean energy technologies like solar.
“SUN has already helped thousands of Arizonans save money on their electric bills thanks to solar co-ops, and we’re very excited that the IRA incentives will allow us to expand our reach to both urban and rural communities,” said Adrian Keller, Arizona Program Director, Solar United Neighbors of Arizona.
“Solar Gain is excited for these IRA investments and expects the solar industry to grow following its passage. Having federal, state, and local solar rules change every year or two has presented challenges in the past. The 10-year IRA horizon dramatically improves our business planning and growth outlook, “ said Robert Neifert, Director of Business Development, Solar Gain Inc. and Co-Chair of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association’s (AriSEIA) Public Policy Committee. “The most important changes are the tax credit reverting to 30%, and the incentive adders - Domestic Content, Low Income, and Energy Communities. For the Low Income Adder and Energy Communities, new guidance just came out in the last few weeks, but it seems many Tucson and surrounding area projects will benefit from the new bonus incentives.”
AriSEIA is helping Arizonans go solar by helping improve the state, local, and utility policies. We’ve been able to score big wins with Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, Salt River Project, and the Arizona Corporation Commission, as well as meeting with co-ops and local governments to remove roadblocks and bring the latest technology advancements to Arizona.
With some members of Congress seeking to undermine these critical investments, speakers all shared the urgent need for continued bold climate action. The event concluded with speakers urging the Biden administration to finish the job on climate and implement solutions for pollution to help slash climate pollution in half by 2030.
Watch a recording of the event HERE.
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