PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer said her dedication to solar energy can be seen on the roof of her house, where she’s had solar panels since the 1970s.
Under a bright sun Wednesday in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Brewer said solar is the key to the state’s future.
“Arizona was made for solar energy,” she said.
Brewer joined speakers from the Arizona Corporation Commission and Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the debut of a solar unit designed to fold up during inclement weather.
Scottsdale-based Monarch Power developed the Lotus Mobile to provide a portable source of power that, unlike traditional solar panels, doesn’t need to be attached to an electric grid.
The Lotus Mobile features petal-like panels that move to track the sun’s course across the sky and fold in on themselves for protection.
The project’s inventor, Arizona State University professor and Monarch Power CEO Joseph Hui, said his inspiration comes from two sources: butterflies and lotus flowers.
“It’s a beautiful thing, and besides the beauty it generates power also,” he said.
His love of butterflies contributed to his car, a bright orange Tesla Roadster that’s charged by a version of his solar panels.
Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Lotus Mobile helps show that Arizona is well on its way to becoming “the solar capital of the world.”
Susan Bitter Smith, a Republican newly elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission, said Arizona benefits from solar energy companies.
“Monarch Power is a great example of our entrepreneurialism in the state,” she said.
The Lotus Mobile’s ability to provide power without being connected to an electrical grid is crucial for bringing electricity to rural areas and Third World countries, said Slobodan Petrovic, an electrochemistry professor at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Williamsville.
“It’s the ideal solution for bringing renewable solar energy to the forgotten people in Africa and South America,” he said.
Arizona ranks second in the nation in solar panel installation, trailing only California, according to an annual report from the Solar Energy Industries Association.
For Hui, the attraction to solar energy is simple to explain.
“We need to think about what makes us happy,” he said. “Sunshine makes us happy.”
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- 12 things to watch before the Oscars
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Best and worst of Super Bowl commercials
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes