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ARIZONA OPINION

Arizona Opinion: Inflation bill could lead to sunny days for Arizona families

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The following is the opinion and analysis of the writer:

Our home state of Arizona is a perfect example of the huge potential that exists if Congress can get the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) over the finish line. Our Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly will have led the effort to bring a robust clean energy economy to Arizona and, with it, the attendant economic and environmental benefits.

The legislation will create robust supply chains in Arizona, lead to the creation of more than 65,000 additional renewable energy jobs in Arizona by 2035 and bring billions of dollars of new investments to the state. In addition, it will help make our economy and communities more resilient through investment in one of our most reliable natural resources: sunlight.

A recent study by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago found that tax policies that support clean energy would lower electricity prices while drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Arizona consumers will see cost savings of approximately $360 per household by 2030.

On Aug. 2, a group of top economists sent a letter to congressional leaders saying the proposal “addresses some of the country’s biggest challenges at a significant scale. And because it is deficit-reducing, it does so while putting downward pressure on inflation.”

Already our state is blessed with an ideal climate for solar energy — literally the best in the world — and it is home to companies large and small that are now providing more than 8,200 family-supporting jobs. Arizona is already home to myriad companies throughout the solar supply chain from manufacturing to developers to installers to recycling and refurbishment. In addition, our electric utilities now rely on low-cost solar and energy storage solutions at scale to supply energy for the growth in the region.

Arizona companies provide opportunities for Arizonans across the state in terms of jobs, workforce training, and economic development. Those opportunities grow by orders of magnitude if this legislation becomes law.

The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) was founded in 1991 and represents approximately 60 companies doing business in Arizona, and our companies are eager to get to work and increase their investment in our state with the passage of this essential bill.

The IRA would also help incentivize private sector investments in U.S. manufacturing capacity to close the cost gap between domestic production and imports. American manufacturing of clean energy products across the supply chain is critical to preserving national security, addressing the climate crisis, and providing prosperity in the clean energy economy. If we are to reach emissions goals, America will have to achieve massive clean energy deployment. This legislation will help us get there.

As the U.S. Department of Energy recognized earlier this year, “greatly expanding U.S. (photovoltaic) PV manufacturing could mitigate global supply chain challenges and lead to tremendous benefits for the climate as well as for U.S. workers, employers and the economy.”

In June 2021, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) set a goal of 50 GW of U.S. solar manufacturing capacity by 2030 for each of the following key segments: polysilicon, wafers, cells, modules, inverters and trackers. That would supply nearly triple the amount of solar we install today in the United States. With passage of the IRA, the U.S. will meet, and even exceed, this 50 GW goal. But in the absence of federal incentives for private sector investments, the country will fall far short.

For Arizona’s future, for our energy independence, and for our own wallets, the answer is clear — passage of the Inflation Reduction Act will create new and prosperous jobs for Arizonans and build an industry that will establish our home as a national and international leader in energy. Let’s get this done.

Autumn Johnson is the executive director of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA), the state’s solar and storage trade association. She can be reached at autumn@ariseia.org.


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