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APS CEO discusses his company’s commitment to solar energy

Arizona Public Service Company, or APS, does many things for Arizona in the present. It serves over 1.2 million customers, creates about 40,000 jobs and annually donates millions of dollars to charity through its foundation.

But APS is also working to better Arizona’s future.

Don Brandt, APS president, CEO and chairman of the board sat down with KTAR’s Pat McMahon to talk about APS’s efforts to develop solar energy.

“We are the leader,” Brandt said. “And we’ve been that way for 50 years.”

APS’s long history of researching solar energy has culminated in it being ranked as third in the nation for the amount of solar installed in 2013. The two other companies that ranked higher were California-based “mega-utilities,” which are five to seven times the size of APS.

Brandt said now is the time for solar because of a high amount of consumer interest, shrinking costs and high research potential.

APS’s Solana plant, which is the largest of its kind in the world, is another example of the company looking forward. It captures the sun’s heat instead of its light, allowing the plant to store the heat for later production.

“Solana was probably producing electricity last night at about 10 or 10:30 at night, long after the sun’s been down,” Brandt said.

APS also has partnerships with Arizona schools and universities, making solar energy accessible so Arizona’s future citizens can learn and be powered by the energy of the future.