Welcome to the Arizona Solar Challenge Tumblr! We're your source for the latest updates about our work to put solar on 5% of homes in your community by the year 2015. We'll regularly feature photos, news clips and profiles of Solar Ambassadors from across the state. Learn more at the Arizona SmartPower website.

Posts tagged "solar installation"

Arizona SmartPower joined AriSEIA to conduct the first solar installer breakfast on October 26th. Approximately 25 solar installers from APS-qualified installer companies attended the breakfast to learn more about the Arizona Solar Challenge.

Michael Neary from AriSEIA spoke to the group and was followed by the AZ SmartPower team, who answered questions about our program. The breakfast was an excellent opportunity for us to build strong relations with installers, who were interested collaborating with the AZ SmartPower team to get more solar on rooftops in Arizona. 

Arizona SmartPower Program Assistant Aparna P. Mohla reached out to Solar Ambassadors Lesa Pennington and Gary Hockett to hear their solar story and walk through their solar system. Visit for more information, or reach out to Solar Coach Dru Bacon with specific solar questions: dbacon at

The AZ SmartPower team hosted a Solar Ambassador meeting at the Casa Grande Public Library on Monday, September 26th. Casa Grande Mayor Jackson and his wife Judee Jackson, the APS Community Representative for Casa Grande, joined Dru Bacon and Aparna P. Mohla at the event. The 4 Solar Ambassadors in attendance shared their personal solar installation stories and talked about the drastic drop in their monthly bills.

Aparna and Dru led a brainstorming discussion that generated some bright ideas for further solar growth in Casa Grande, one of which was to bring the AZ SmartPower team back for an APS Brownbag Presentation, which will be scheduled soon! Another suggestion was to connect all of Casa Grande’s Solar Ambassadors, including the ones who could not attend the event, to establish a Casa Grande Solar Club! Our team was so excited to see the ambassadors taking pride in their work and initiating a club where they can share ideas.

AZ SmartPower has also been invited back to Casa Grande to speak at the Rotary Club, so look for scheduling of that event as well!

Meet Karen and Brian Daniels from Clarkdale and hear their story:

“I am no stranger to solar power. Right after moving into our house on Christmas Eve of 2009, our first winter electric bills were very high, so we decided to go ahead with the solar water heating system as soon as we could get approval from APS for an incentive.

As soon as we got our first few months’ electric bills we were really excited. Not only did we produce all the electricity that we needed, we have credits adding up that will offset the higher use coming during the hottest summer months and our winter heating, as well as our future needs for the new construction.

Karen and Brian’s home with 44 solar panels! They will be hosting the Clarkdale Solar Block Party at their home on November 5th.

"If electric rates go up, which we know is a very good possibility, our system may pay for itself sooner rather than later. It will end up being a moneymaking machine, producing free electricity, and we’ll even get paid at the end of each year for any excess produced. An extra bonus is that it will really have increased the overall value of our house!”

—Karen and Brian Daniels, Clarkdale AZ

Dru Bacon has been with the Arizona SmartPower team as a Solar Ambassador since the program’s origins. Before he was a Solar Ambassador, Dru consulted several Arizona residents on solar as a promoter in his community. He helped 10 percent of residents in his homeowners association — 391 homes — go solar!

With advanced degrees in engineering and multiple years of experience in local communities, Dru offers both a professional and personal role as a Solar Coach with Arizona SmartPower.

Dru has solar electric, solar hot water, a solar panel on his golf cart and is No. 550 on the waiting list for a Tesla Sedan. If that doesn’t demonstrate a passion for solar and energy efficiency, I’m not sure what does.

We are excited to welcome Dru to the team as a consultant to homeowners about solar systems, the installation process and more. 

Dru test driving a Tesla

Our wonderful Prescott Solar Ambassadors Mark and JoDee Vale celebrated their new solar system installation in a big way! Heartiest Congratulations to the couple and a big thanks for organizing a house party to show off your new solar power!

JoDee and Mark Vale have both been incredible solar ambassadors, leading outreach initiatives in Prescott and spreading the message of energy independence.

More than 30 people attended the party — all eager to follow in JoDee and Mark’s footsteps. With the kind of enthusiasm and positive energy in their home, it can easily be expected to see at least seven solar systems come out of this one gathering.

Jeff Slaugh from Solar City came out to explain intertie systems and show a short video, followed by a Q&A session. Jeff ended the party by demonstrating how the solar system works, what all the components look like and how output can be monitored via computer or iphone. 

Neighbors and friends thoroughly enjoyed the solar party.

A solar system installer finishing up the conduit on the Vale’s improved home: