Gila Bend Assumes New Identity as a Solar Epicenter

October 25, 2013

For being a small town, Gila Bend sure has some big reputations.

Most travelers can recall that large space ship looming over the Space Age Hotel and Restaurant.

And even Prince Harry was very impressed with the Meat Lovers Pizza from Gila Bend’s pizzeria Little Italy.

Yet Gila Bend is donning a new reputation that is spreading across the world: that of a solar mecca.

This started over four years ago, thanks in part to the leadership of City Manager Rick Buss.

“I recognized there was a tremendous opportunity to build a solar community,” said Buss.

This opportunity for the town soon became an opportunity for APS: between the climate and the solar-friendly policies and zoning, APS began to eye this friendly town as a prime location for part of its AZ Sun Program and other solar opportunities. See what’s happened since:

Along with its new solar identity, Gila Bend has some fresh statistics to brag:

  • Gila Bend has 740 solar panels for every 1 resident in town
  • APS is generating enough solar power from the area to provide electricity for 46 towns the size of Gila Bend
  • According to Buss, when Solana Generating Station, Cotton Center and Paloma were being constructed during the economic recession, Gila Bend was at full-employment with over 2,000 jobs in a community of 1,700 people
  • Some Gila Bend residents who were trained on the job during the construction of Cotton Center and Paloma are now building solar plants elsewhere and sending the money back home