NRG Solar started commercial operations for the Avra Valley Solar Generating Station, a 25 MW photovoltaic facility near Tucson, Ariz. (pictured).
The station’s electricity will be sold to Tucson Electric Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Although NRG has many distributed solar projects and thermal operations in Arizona, this project represents its first delivery of solar power to Tucson Electric Power. The NRG system will serve as the single largest solar array in TEP’s renewable energy portfolio.
US Foods activated a 430 KW solar power system at its distribution center in Albuquerque, NM. Consisting of 1,772 photovoltaic panels, the rooftop solar array will provide nearly 25 percent of the facility’s energy needs. At its peak, the solar array will generate 711,000 kWh annually. US Foods is leasing the solar panels from commercial solar developer Distributed Sun. In addition to the Albuquerque location, US Foods has installed solar panels to power distribution centers in Perth Amboy, NJ, La Mirada, Calif., Phoenix and San Francisco.
Duke Energy Renewables has acquired a commercial solar power project located within the University of Arizona’s Science and Technology Park in Tucson, an area dedicated to solar energy. Duke purchased the 6 MW Gato Montes Solar Power Project from AstroSol. The project consists of 48,000 PV panels on a 38.5-acre parcel of land in the UA Tech Park. The project is expected to achieve commercial operation by the end of 2012. Tucson Electric Power Company will buy all of the electricity from the project under a 20-year agreement.
The UA Tech Park is testing various solar projects under identical operating conditions to evaluate the most beneficial technology for solar energy production in the Southwest.