Keeping with the trend of solar energy installations becoming more visible across the country, an installation at Arizona Western College in Yuma was recently honored with the PV Project of Distinction award at PV America West.
The 23-acre Arizona solar installation in Yuma utilizes five distinct photovoltaic technologies and is the first of its kind in the country to pair workforce development with financial and performance monitoring for utility-scale integration.
The solar system is five megawatts and was recognized by the Solar Energy Industries Association and Solar Electric Power Association as one of the three most distinct solar projects in 2012. The announcement was made recently at PV America's annual conference in San Jose, California.
The system will be owned and operated by a subsidiary of Main Street Power for the next 30 years, and will save the school an estimated $62 million based on current electricity rates.
“This is an important program that will measure the panel-to-portfolio effectiveness of various products and system combinations,” said Robert Schaefer, CEO of AlsoEnergy. “We’re proud to be part of this effort to develop the data and methodologies that will help train the next generation of leaders and innovators in the renewable energy industry.”
The PV Project Distinction Awards recognize significant achievements by companies and organizations throughout the United States. Nominations were sent related to companies, designs, installations, policy, technology and financing, and the winners were selected according to the significance they have for the industry. This year marks the second awards ceremony.
The new solar system will play an important role in the school's solar technology degree program. Students will manage and monitor the installation, which has special features to facilitate research and workforce development. The solar array is composed of five one-megawatt sites across the campus, and are expected to offset close to 100 percent of the campus' daytime electricity.
Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, recently signed two pieces of legislation into law that focus on solar energy. The state is one of the highest producers of solar energy capacity and will soon increase its solar production thanks to the two laws. One removes the 2013 deadline for schools to install their own solar energy systems, and the other clarifies a problem concerning the sale of Renewable Energy Credits.