Florence, Ariz., November 9, 2011 — Project developers inaugurated Arizona’s newest commercial-scale solar power project at the dedication of Iberdrola Renewables’ Copper Crossing Solar Ranch in Florence.
Located in Pinal County, the 20-MW project sits on 144 acres and began operation earlier this year. Under a 25-year agreement, Salt River Project will purchase the entire output of the project, which is expected to provide enough renewable energy to power about 3,700 homes each year.
The project brings a new source of renewable energy to the region while supporting the local economy through property tax payments to Pinal County and job creation. During the peak of Copper Crossing construction, the project directly employed about 200 workers. Additionally, 18 local companies worked on the project, and about $1 million was spent locally.
The project is Iberdrola Renewables’ first completed solar project in the U.S., and adds to a portfolio of nearly 5,000 MW of renewables across the country. The new solar plant will be the third large renewable-power project in which SRP has partnered with Portland, Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables — the Dry Lake Wind Farm Phase 1 was dedicated as Arizona’s first commercial-scale, wind power project in October 2009, and Phase 2 reached commercial operation in late 2010.
The energy delivered from the plant will support SRP’s Sustainable Portfolio. The SRP Board has set a goal to meet 20 percent of SRP’s retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020. Currently, SRP is ahead of schedule — providing a little more than nine percent of retail energy needs with sustainable resources, which include renewable energy, hydropower, conservation, efficiency and pricing measures.
Copper Crossing began construction in late 2010. Designed and built by California-based SunPower Corp., it features more than 66,000 solar panels manufactured by SunPower, along with the associated tracking technology.