Tucson, Ariz., October 18, 2010 – Pima County officials, SunEdison, a unit of MEMC Electronic Materials and Solon Corp., will celebrate the activation of a 1 MW photovoltaic solar power plant near the Roger Road Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
The solar power plant was made possible through a solar services agreement between Pima County and SunEdison that required no upfront costs from the county, and which the county estimates will save it between $1.2 to $2 million over the 20-year contract term (based on projected conventional energy price increases of between 2.4 to 4 percent a year).
The Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a Sustainability Resolution in May 2007, which calls for the county to meet 15 percent of its energy needs using renewable resources by 2025.
The 1MW solar power plant will allow Pima County to use the solar energy produced to offset its demand for conventional grid electricity. The solar power plant is expected to produce over 2 million kWh of energy annually and more than 40 million kWh of energy over the next 20 years. That is enough energy to power more than 3,700 average U.S. homes for one year.
Under the solar services agreement between Pima County and SunEdison, Pima County will purchase the energy produced from the 1MW solar deployment from SunEdison at predictable energy rates for 20 years.
SunEdison is responsible for the financing and ownership of the system and will work closely with Tucson-based Solon Corp., who will operate and maintain the system under contract with SunEdison. Solon Corp. also designed and constructed the power plant using Solon modules and single-axis tracking technology.
The environmental attributes associated with the system will offset more than 47 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the initial 20 years of operation – the equivalent of taking 4,600 cars off the road for one year.
The solar power plant is also anticipated to displace the use of between 1.1 and 1.6 million gallons of water per year; this is the amount of water that would be lost to evaporation during the “wet cooling” process involved in conventional electrical generation.