Editor's Note: The opinions expressed within this guest post are those of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. 

Today, in celebration of Solar Phoenix 2 -- the nation’s largest city-sponsored residential solar program -- we bring you a guest post from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. Creative business models, like Solar Phoenix 2, can help more Americans realize the promise of solar power while making our domestic solar industry more competitive.

The words “solar” and “Arizona” should be a no-brainer when we think of our state’s most powerful and abundant resource -- the sun.

With about 300 days of sunshine a year, we should be the leading source of solar energy in the country.

Today shows we’re on our way.

The City of Phoenix, in partnership with the National Bank Arizona, and energy companies -- Arizona Public Service (APS) and Salt River Project (SRP) -- today launched Solar Phoenix 2, the largest city-sponsored residential solar program.

This program puts solar panels on 1,000 roofs in the city and saves families 10 to 15 percent in energy costs each month. It creates more than 150 jobs in the Phoenix area and infuses $25 million into our economy.

This is good energy, literally, for Phoenix.

Just like all cities across the country, Phoenix is rising out of this recession, and we’ve got to lead our state into a sound and stable economic future with bright ideas that last for future generations.

Phoenix’s housing market and other industries didn’t survive the economic turmoil and are just now beginning to rebuild themselves. Our economy took a massive hit because we depended on those industries. I don’t want this to happen again. We’ve got to stop the boom-and-bust cycle and find ways to boost our economy so it weathers economic ups and downs.

Phoenix has a strong track record of embracing innovative energy opportunities:

  • ENERGIZE Phoenix: As part of this initiative, the Energy Department, partnered with our city and Arizona State University in embracing and implementing energy efficiency along our Light Rail corridor. We are making strides in saving energy and saving citizens money.
  • We recently installed 16,000 solar panels at Sky Harbor Airport. That reduces our energy use and will save nearly $235,000 a year.
  • Solar in Arizona has grown more than 300 percent from 2010-2011 and there’s more to come.

Solar is an easy answer, but we’ve got to do better and do more. We should be leading the nation in solar power, and the United States should be leading the world in solar power, not China. We should be energy independent and these types of programs help us create our own energy economy – not leave us dependent on foreign oil.

Today we took a giant step forward.

All of this couldn’t be possible without the visionary leadership of Secretary Chu. He is leading the charge to invest in clean energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create economic opportunity.  

Be ready. Solar Phoenix 2 is just the beginning of my unwavering commitment to changing the energy conversation, and with your help, we can lead Arizona to a better economic future.

For more information on the program, visit the Solar Phoenix 2 website