Fortunately U.S. Congressional Representative Giffords has so far shown hopeful signs in her recovery from the recent horrific attack in Arizona. Nationally she has been the centerpiece of many news stories; however many stories have not delved into her contributions to Arizona, and her work with new solar technology.
In 2007, Giffords started the first Solar Power conference, and series of educational events for the public called Solar 101. About forty such events have taken place to teach Arizona residents about the benefits of solar technology, both environmentally and economically.
Giffords’ commitment to solar power has contributed to a large growth in solar panel installations in her home state. “When it comes to solar, Tucson and Southern Arizona get it. The past 12 to 18 months have seen a phenomenal jump in the number of solar panels installed here and the amount of energy that we are producing locally, from the sun, not from unsustainable, imported sources.” (Source: Tucson Sentinel)
Giffords does more than promote the energy; she had nine solar panels installed on the roof of her Tucson home. “My passion is solar energy” she said in 2008 at a forum on technology at Pima Community College. (Source: Computerworld.com) Representative Giffords has been described as a “…key supporter as SEIA pushed for the eight-year extension of the solar investment tax credit and the recent one-year extension of the Treasury Grant Program,” said Solar Energy Industry Association CEO Rhone Resch (Source: solarindustrymag.com)
Giffords introduced the Solar Roadmap Act in Congress in 2009. At that time she said, “The roadmap would be required to identify short-, medium- and long-term goals and make recommendations for how to channel research and development resources to meet those goals. It will make the Department of Energy more responsive to our solar industry’s needs and encourage increased collaboration and communication across technologies with well-vetted strategies.” (Source: giffords.house.gov)
The Solar Roadmap Act passed in the House of Representatives, but has not gone further in the legislative process yet, though it could be reintroduced. The Solar Schools Act is another piece of legislation she introduced in Congress. It intends to make solar technology more affordable for schools.
Image Credit: Giffords.house.gov