Tucson ranks third in the nation for climate change resiliency, study finds

Fighting climate change in Tucson
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 10:20 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Tucson is leading the nation in climate change resiliency, according to a new homeownership report.

Hippo Insurance ranked the Old Pueblo third best in the U.S. for combating some of the effects of climate change, making it an even more attractive location for some buyers.

City leaders and energy providers have set some ambitions goals to make Tucson cleaner and greener over the next decade.

For Julie Festerling, solar energy is the way of the future.

“In Arizona, we have at least 333 days of solar here,” she said. “We live in the sunshine belt. I mean, technically, this is called the ‘Sun Belt.’ So, it makes sense for most people.”

Festerling had solar panels installed on her home about five years ago, and now designs and sells them for Icon Power. She’s noticed an uptick in demand, especially this year.

“I think a lot of it right now is gas prices are going up,” said Festerling. “Gas is going up ridiculously fast. So, people are scared and they are looking for a better way; maybe a cleaner, more affordable way to power their lives.”

Festerling says most people who install solar panels end up saving in the long run. With federal and state incentives, she says now is a good time to look at switching to solar.

“Right now, the federal government is offering a 26% federal tax credit to go solar,” said Festerling. “As long as you have tax liability, it offsets it. It’s a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, not a rebate or a refund. It’s a credit, so, you have to owe. Arizona is also giving a $1,000 tax credit right now. The state is sales tax exempt for solar, so, the price [we] give you is how much you pay. It’s no money down if you take out a loan, and your first bill doesn’t come for at least six to eight weeks after the system is installed.”

Tucson Electric Power (TEP), the largest provider in the city, has committed to delivering 70% renewable energy to its customers by 2035.

“Last year, we took a big step towards achieving that,” said Joseph Barrios, a spokesperson for TEP. “We brought three large renewable systems online; two wind systems and a solar and storage system. Today, about 30% of the power that we deliver to customers comes from renewable energy resources.”

At the same time, the City of Tucson is planting drought-resistant trees around town. It’s part of Mayor Regina Romero’s campaign to plant one million trees by 2030.

On Monday, TEP announced a partnership with Tugo Bike Share. Free rides will be offered every Wednesday this month.

“Riding a bike, there are no emissions,” said Barrios. “There are health benefits, there are environmental benefits. Those coincide perfectly with the things that we are working towards.”

To learn more about the free bike sharing program, click HERE.

To learn more about TEP’s renewable energy initiative, click HERE.

To get a free solar consultation for a residential property, click HERE.

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