The City of Tucson, Arizona has doubled its solar power capacity through a completed project in partnership with the Tucson Water Department, Trico Electric and SunPower Corp. The 1-megawatt, ground-mounted solar power system was designed and built by SunPower and located on former agricultural land located within Tuscon Water Department’s underground water storage and recovery facility. In addition to the solar panels located on the 10-acre site, a SunPower Tracker system was installed that allows the solar panels to follow the sun movement during the day increasing sunlight capture up to 25 percent.
“With these systems, Tucson is reinforcing its commitment to energy conservation, waste reduction and environmental protection. SunPower’s technology will ensure that the system delivers energy in a cost effective manner that benefits the community,” stated Interim Director of Tucson Water Andrew Quigley.
The project was financed through a power purchase agreement with SunPowe and Wells Fargo owns the system. Additional funding came from Trico Electric’s SunWatts renewable energy incentive program. The city is buying the electricity produced by the solar system and Trico Electric Cooperative will purchase the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the system.
“This system will reliably produce clean energy for years to come,” said Jim Pape, president of SunPower’s residential and commercial business group. “Tucson is leading the way in Arizona by seizing this opportunity to help meet the state’s growing energy demand and renewable energy goals.”
The project site is part of the city’s Central Avra Valley Storage and Recovery Project (CAVSARP), a short and long-term water storage and recovery operation, utilizing water from the Central Arizona Project aqueduct and providing city residents with a renewable source of potable water.