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The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity successfully completed its first step towards energy independence at its national headquarters in Tucson by installing this 7.5 kW solar array, which will provide 50 percent of its office energy needs. The conservation group is raising money to reach its goal of being 100-percent solar powered. The final step will be to produce enough solar energy to use in charging plug-in hybrid cars.

“Everyone in Tucson and Arizona should go solar,” says Michael Finkelstein, the Center’s executive director. “This is a renewable energy source with big tax incentives for individuals and businesses to boot.”

“Federal, state and local governments should provide additional help to those that require financial assistance,” adds Finkelstein. “We have subsidized oil companies and other industries that fuel global warming for far too long. It’s time to reward renewable energy producers, especially solar.”

Earlier in 2007 the Center went climate-neutral, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting those that cannot be eliminated.

The Center has embarked on a program to explicitly track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, starting by reducing energy use — for example by ensuring that lighting is provided by the most efficient fluorescent or compact fluorescent bulbs, turning off computers when not in use, and switching to more fuel-efficient forms of travel whenever possible.

“As individuals, the most important change we can make in our global warming behavior is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” advises Shane Jimerfield, climate scientist with the Center. “We have chosen to take the Center’s commitment even further, by eliminating our carbon footprint since our inception in 1989.”