TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 1, 2001 – Tucson Electric Power Co. (TEP) has surpassed the 1-megawatt capacity milestone in photovoltaic solar generation, with the installation of 695 kilowatts (kW) of solar panels at the Springerville Generating Station (SGS) near Springerville, Ariz.
TEP’s combined solar operations, including 315 kW in Tucson, are now able to provide enough “green” power to meet the energy needs of approximately 200 residential customers.
TEP and its partners Global Solar Energy and Southwest Energy Solutions are now just over halfway to the goal of installing 1.35 megawatts of photovoltaic panels on 22 acres of land at the Springerville facility in northeastern Arizona this year. All three companies are subsidiaries of UniSource Energy Corp.
Once phase one is complete this year, SGS will be hosting the Western Hemisphere’s single largest photovoltaic solar generation site.
Photovoltaic solar panels directly convert sunlight to electricity. Springerville was selected for the site because of its cooler temperatures and frequent wind, two factors that improve solar panel output efficiency.
“TEP is committed to the use of renewable resources in Arizona, and we will continue to explore each opportunity to deliver the most cost-effective and innovative power solutions to our customers,” said James S. Pignatelli, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Corp.
It is expected that another 675 kW of solar generation at Springerville will be ready by the end of November 2001. According to the Solar Electric Power Association, once Springerville is operating at full capacity it will be the second largest single site photovoltaic installation in the world, second only to a 3.3 MW system in Italy.
“Customers have shown their commitment to investing in renewable energy with their participation in TEP’s voluntary program, GreenWatts,” commented Tom Hansen, TEP vice president and technical services advisor. Proceeds from GreenWattsà¢â€ž- (Greenwatts.com) are used to build and operate new solar electric generating stations including that at SGS.
Global Solar Energy is managing the system’s integration with current facilities, and Southwest Energy Solutions is providing the installation expertise in the project.
TEP is Arizona’s second-largest investor-owned electricity utility company and the primary subsidiary of UniSource Energy Corp.