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US Rep. Ron Barber to Host Solar Power 101

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Location: Tucson, AZ

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber will hold the 60th Solar Power 101 workshop on Tuesday with a look at the solar installations at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

"It is important that we make America's energy here in America -- and I am proud that a military installation here in Southern Arizona is taking a leadership role in advancing that," Barber said. "I have solar panels on my own home and know what a difference they make in reducing energy costs."

Davis-Monthan has a 6 MW solar array at Soaring Heights Community, near East Golf Links and South Wilmot Road. A far larger 14.5 MW solar array was completed late last year. Together, they provide about 35 percent of the energy needed to power the entire base, saving taxpayers $500,000 annually.

The solar projects cover 130 acres of underutilized land at the base and make D-M home to the largest solar-energy generating capacity in the U.S. Air Force -- and one of the largest in the entire Department of Defense.

"The men and women of Davis-Monthan have been leaders when it comes to turning the Air Force green," Barber said today. "I am proud to have this opportunity to showcase the huge commitment to solar that the military has made here at D-M."

Solar Power 101 is a community education series that has provided information to thousands of Southern Arizonans over the past five years. It is the perfect way for people interested in taking the solar step to have access to the experts.

The Solar Power 101 series was started in November 2007 by then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Barber, who served as her district director. This is the fourth Solar Power 101 Barber has held since he was elected in June 2012.

The Tuesday workshop will be held at Murphy-Wilmot Branch Library. Speaking will be:

Dianna Thor of the Pima County Public Library, welcoming participants
Barber discussing the importance of solar to the Southern Arizona economy
Col. Kevin E. Blanchard, commander of the 355th Fighter Wing, discussing renewable energy and the mission of Davis-Monthan
Greg Noble, energy manager at Davis-Monthan, who will give an overview of solar and energy efficiency projects on the base
John Karelis, utility manager of the Soaring Heights Community, discussing the solar project serving the homes
Tuesday's event is free and open to the public but anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP by emailing az02.rsvp@mail.house.gov or calling 520-881-3588.

Solar energy use worldwide has grown by an average of 30 percent annually over the past 20 years, driven by rapidly declining costs.

Tucson is one of the Department of Energy's 25 designated Solar America Cities.

Media is welcome to attend Tuesday's event.

WHAT: U.S. Rep. Ron Barber hosts Solar Power 101 workshop

WHEN: 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013

WHERE: Murphy-Wilmot Branch Library, 520 N. Wilmot Road


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