Pima County, Ariz. (Aug. 18, 2011) - Pima County’s Department of Development Services hosted a solar tour in mid-August for an officer of Kenya’s Energy Regulatory Commission and a representative of Namibia’s Electricity Control Board.
They were accompanied by Nancy LaPlaca, an adviser to Arizona Corporation Commissioner Paul Newman.
Betty Stamper, the county’s Regional Solar Coordinator, conducted the tour.
Charity Nsofu of the Namibian Electricity Control Board and Eustace Njeru, technical officer, Energy Efficiency and Conservation, Kenya Energy Regulatory Commission, came to Arizona to learn about the various solar technologies installed throughout the state.
Tucson was included in their tour because of the plethora of solar energy developments in the Tucson area.
The solar tour included a visit to the Tucson Electric Power Solar Test Yard where more than 600 photovoltaic modules from 20 different manufacturers are being monitored by University of Arizona researchers. The modules have been monitored since 2009.
The group also toured The Solar Zone at the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park, southeast of the city, where John Grabo, Director of Business Development, provided an overview of the largest multi-technology solar evaluation site in the United States.
Also, the visitors viewed, from Golf Links Road looking south, the solar farm installed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and some of the roof-mounted PV solar installations at the Soaring Heights Community at D-M. The residential community is the first and the largest solar-powered residential community in the country to date.
A new, ground-mounted 14.5 megawatt solar farm is expected to be installed at the Air Force Base later this year.
The visitors from Africa were interested to see the solar installations at Brooklyn Pizza and Antigone Books, since they hope to be able to replicate similar, small commercial solar installations in their own countries.
The tour ended in Downtown Tucson at the Solar One Stop Center, located in the main lobby of the Public Works Building, 201 N. Stone Ave..
The multi-media center promotes the use of solar power in the Tucson region and is a central hub for solar information for residents, businesses and solar companies.
For more information on solar use and technology, go to www.SolarOneStopAZ.org. Stamper administers Pima County’s Solar One Stop website.