Study: Even Arizona’s a Poor Choice for Solar Power

Published November 29, 2010

Based on its sunny skies and southern location, Arizona may have the most potential for solar power development, but solar power still does not make sense for the state’s consumers, Arizona State University researcher Matt Croucher concludes in a new study published in Electricity Journal.

Croucher analyzed national data to determine where solar power is most cost-effective to produce and where the potential societal value of solar power consumption is the greatest. Although Arizona ranks high in the first category, it is low in the second.

The societal value of solar power consumption is low in Arizona, Croucher explained, because electricity prices in the state are already relatively low and the state does not contain many coal-fired power plants. As a result, expensive solar power would drive up electricity prices more in Arizona than in other states, while having a relatively small impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.