Solar Power Plant to be built on Arizona State Campus

Noria news wires

Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona State University (ASU) and SunPower Corporation have announced an agreement to build a 1-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant at ASU's Polytechnic campus in Mesa, Ariz. The 1-megawatt facility will be the first commercial deployment of SunPower C7 Tracker technology, a solar photovoltaic tracking system that concentrates the sun's power and is designed to achieve the lowest levelized cost of electricity for solar power plants.

SunPower will engineer and construct the plant on the southeast corner of the ASU Polytechnic campus and will operate and maintain it. Under a purchase-power agreement, SRP will buy the entire output of the solar plant from SunPower, while ASU will purchase all of the energy attributable to the plant for use at its Polytechnic campus. The plant is expected to produce energy equal to that needed to serve about 225 SRP customers' homes. It will require minimal water use and will support ASU's renewable energy goals. Construction of the plant is contingent on a number of factors, including receipt of all applicable permits.

"The installation of SunPower's ground-breaking technology helps move ASU closer to our 2014 20-megawatt solar-energy-generating goal," said David Brixen, ASU's associate vice president of facilities development and management.

"As we continue to add resources to our sustainable portfolio, SRP is very interested in finding new low-cost and efficient renewable-energy technologies that can help keep our customers' prices low," said John Sullivan, SRP's chief resource executive. "SunPower's C7 Tracker System is the type of promising technology that can provide both benefits."

The C7 Tracker combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors reflecting light onto efficient large-area solar cells. Using mirrors to reduce the number of solar cells required to generate electricity can lower the levelized cost of electricity by up to 20 percent compared to competing technologies.

"The SunPower C7 Tracker leverages SunPower's depth of experience developing reliable tracking systems and delivers bankable technology with guaranteed performance," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president. "We applaud our partners on this project in selecting this advanced technology platform that will deliver cost-effective renewable energy for the long-term."

The ASU solar plant will be the third commercial-scale solar facility in the Valley of the Sun to provide energy for SRP. Recently, SRP reached an agreement to purchase the output of a 19-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in Queen Creek. Copper Crossing, a 20-megawatt facility located in Pinal County and designed and built by SunPower, began providing energy for SRP's Community Solar program last year. More than 100 schools in 11 Valley school districts are tapping into the power of the sun from that plant to offset a portion of their electric needs through the program. Community Solar is also open to residential customers, allowing customers to invest in solar energy without the upfront costs or maintenance of a rooftop system.

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