Although Arizona is often thought of as a leader in the solar industry due to its climate and existing photovoltaic installations, when it comes to the Grand Canyon State’s policies regarding solar energy, it is falling behind other, more progressive states.
Many incentives that spurred the growth of the solar industry in the state have recently lapsed, and compared to states like Vermont and California, Arizona’s renewable portfolio standard is lagging behind these leaders.
Due to the weather conditions, Arizona is one of the sunniest states in America. Although this natural benefit exists, it is offset by the lack of incentives and a period of “net metering” charges that hampered the state’s industry, particularly for solar leasing companies.
Current State of Solar in AZ
- 8th highest amount potential for all roof space for solar
- 3rd highest existing PV rooftop installations
- 147,450,436 number of total panels
From 2011 – 2018, solar energy projects totaling over 200 MW capacity where installed throughout the state each year – that’s over 1,600 MW of total capacity! Additionally, from 2016-2018, installations for non-utility use surpassed total capacities of 200 MW per year.
Since 2012, utility installations of solar in Arizona have accounted for nearly 200 MW or more in four separate years.
Arizona doesn’t just have huge numbers of residential and utility-scale solar installations. Enterprise business is also a huge player in the Grand Canyon State. Macy’s Distribution Logistics and Operations in Goodyear, AZ has a 3.5 MW solar capacity (Souce: SunPower Corp.), making it one of the largest solar installations in the country when it was completed.
With such a wide adaptation of solar panels by residential, commercial, and utility industries, even though the state has a huge amount of existing solar rooftop installations, there’s always room to grow and new challenges to face.
Need for Solar Panel Disposal Solutions
Since Arizona was leading the charge in solar installations, and members of homeowners associations (HOAs) can benefit from photovoltaic collection as per Arizona Statute Section 33-1816, there’s obviously going to be a large need to solutions when all of these large-scale solar projects edge near their end-of-life.
Using forecasting based on installation data, homeowners, HOAs, solar leasing companies, and Arizona’s utilities could be facing the issue of needing to decommission and replace roughly 300 MW of solar capacity by as early as 2030, with those solar panel disposal needs growing to serve over 600 MW of end-of-life PV equipment shortly thereafter.
As Arizona’s solar installations continue to provide power, so will the need for responsible solar disposal within the state.
Unless otherwise noted, all data from SEIA/GTM Research U.S. Solar Market Insight