PHOENIX - Phoenix's convention center will soon be partially powered by solar energy.
Crews will install peel-and-stick solar panels next month on roughly a third of the 2-acre roof on the convention center's West Building.
The $850,000 project will be the biggest solar-panel installation on a downtown Phoenix building, and it's the first time this type of solar-energy technology has been used by Phoenix, according to officials at Arizona Public Service, the state's largest utility.
City officials say the panels will probably only supply a small fraction of the power the building will use. The important thing is that the panels are a groundbreaking effort for Phoenix, said Councilman Greg Stanton, who oversees a city subcommittee on sustainability.
"Phoenix and other governmental entities should show leadership on this issue," said Stanton.
The technology could also be used to provide a cheaper, easier, more attractive way to provide solar power to some existing buildings in the future.
Although other Phoenix-area cities have used the peel-and-stick solar panels, the convention-center project is among the largest to date, officials say.
The city says using solar power will cut the convention center's carbon-dioxide pollution by 95 metric tons each year.
In general, conventional electricity usually costs about 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, and electricity generated by solar power costs about 20 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour, said Arizona State University solar-power expert Govindasamy "Mani" Tamizh-Mani.
When crews roll out 732 solar panels on the convention center roof in early April, it should provide 150,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, said Mark Holohan, president of Code Electric, the company doing the installation.