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  • Attracting Solar to Pima County

    Economic Development

    Arizona has lowered taxes, streamlined regulations, and established a suite of incentives to support corporate growth and expansion.  The Arizona Competitiveness Package, including a Renewable Energy Tax Credit, makes it easier for existing Arizona companies to prosper and establishes Arizona as one of the most desirable places for expanding companies to do business.

    Southern Arizona has a comprehensive portfolio of solar industry incentives from manufacturing to installation to energy production and more!     

    State and Local Support for 15% Renewable Energy Standard

    The Arizona Corporation Commission requires utilities to produce 15% of their energy using renewable resources by 2025. Solar companies can sell renewable energy credits to local utilities to help them meet this goal. Southern Arizona public agencies are committed to achieving similar goals.    

    Strong Local Commitment to Green Building

    Pima County and the City of Tucson have adopted the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Certification as minimum standard for all new public buildings.  Pima County also developed the first Residential Green Building Rating System in the region and is the first public agency in the country to become a LEED for Homes certification provider.  The U. S. Department of Energy named the City of Tucson Arizona’s first Solar America City. Pima County and the City of Tucson have also partnered on a Net Zero Energy Building Standard to use the energy generated by solar systems to establish the maximum demand for a house.

    Growing Solar Land Portfolio

    Southern Arizona offers both public and privately owned lands that support small-scale to utility-scale solar facilities, with additional lands likely to be identified and made available in the future.

    World-Class University of Arizona and Global Solar Research Policy Center

    The UA Renewable Energy Network (REN)is a university-wide initiative designed to support the expanded regional, national and global use of abundant, clean, and economical renewable energy by connecting community and industry to the UA's research and educational programs.  REN works in partnership with researchers, students, business and government leaders to increase access to energy services and economic development potential and promote sustainable approaches for urban and rural energy delivery systems. 

    Sun Corridor, Inc.

    Sun Corridor, Inc. is a bi-national economic development organization located in Southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.  It encompasses four counties in Arizona (Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Cochise) and 72 municipalities in Sonora Mexico.  Operating as TREO for the past 10 years, the organization has helped to drive significant business investment into the Tucson and Southern Arizona region. The region has valuable resources for technology development, manufacturing and solar power generation.

    Sun Corridor's vision is for Southern Arizona to be a top leader in international trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

    Lands Suitable for Solar Facilities

    Pima County and the City of Tucson have identified thousands of acres of vacant or underutilized properties that are suitable or potentially suitable locations for utility or large-scale solar facilities.  These include privately owned properties in unincorporated Pima County that are part of a Renewable Energy Incentive District (REID), as well as vacant properties owned by the City of Tucson.  The City and County encourage utility or large-scale solar systems or facilities to be developed on these sites.

    An Interactive Map shows the location of these sites suitable for solar facilities, and with a click of the mouse, the following information is displayed:

    • If it is a REID parcel, the tier will be identified (see below for more REID information)
    • Owner – City of Tucson or the name of private land owner if the parcel is a REID parcel
    • Parcel code, also known as the tax code or parcel number
    • Address or general location of the land
    • Zoning designation(s)
    • Number of acres on each parcel that have been identified as suitable for solar installations. In the case of some REID parcels, a single parcel may be split into more than one section. In that case the acreage of that section is provided (individual area acres), as well as the total acreage of all of the sections of that parcel (total area acres).

    Lands within Pima County’s Renewable Energy Incentive District (REID)

        There are three categories of REID sites:
    • Tier 1 REID sites require the least amount of pre-development preparation or submittal steps for a solar developer.
    • Tier 2 REID sites are the same as Tier 1 except that they require an archaeological survey or a Pima pineapple cactus survey and subsequent mitigation measures if either are located.
    • Tier 2 REID Airport sites include only the Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield properties located in unincorporated Pima County.  These sites are subject to the same requirements of a Tier 2 site plus any additional requirements as determined by the Tucson Airport Authority.
    Tier 1 REID sites had to meet a number of criteria such as, but not limited to, a minimum site area of five (5) acres or larger, the site has previously been disturbed, or is underutilized, or is a vacant property, the site lies outside of high value biological or archaeological resource areas, the site is not on tribal or federal land, the site is not located within three hundred (300) feet of residential structures existing at the time of site establishment, and the site lies outside of certain flood areas.  Tier 2 REID sites must meet the same criteria as the Tier 1 sites but the land might have archaeological and/or biological resources which if found, would have to be addressed by a solar developer.     

        Questions about REID? Contact Pima County Development Services at (520) 724-9000.

    Incentives and Performance Standards for Pima County REID Lands

    Pima County offers incentives for the development of solar facilities on lands that fall within the REID. The County development review departments and offices are each offering different incentives generally consisting of reduced or waived regulations, reduced or waived fees, and expedited review time for development plan submittals.  For example, several County departments (Environmental Quality, Development Services, Regional Flood Control District, and Transportation) are offering reduced fees and/or expedited review of plans submitted by the solar developer.  The Development Services Department additionally would not require a conditional use permit, allow a much simpler development plan, reduce mitigation ratios for certain vegetation and reduce bufferyards, and would allow the solar developer to eliminate unnecessary parking.

    City of Tucson

    The City of Tucson owns many parcels of land which may be suitable for solar installations, including former landfills.  Contact the City's Real Estate Program at (520) 791-4181 for more details.
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    Solar One Stop

    A partnership of Pima County,
    the Pima Association
    of Governments
    and the City of Tucson.

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    For more information,
    contact Betty Stamper,
    Pima County
    Development Services
    201 N. Stone, 1st Floor
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    (520) 724-6463
    Monday - Friday 8AM to 4PM


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