Tucson, Arizona, recently ensured that solar power would continue to thrive in the city, which has emerged as a leader in a state where solar installations are already being constructed at a rapid pace.
Seven new solar photovoltaic projects were recently installed at City of Tucson facilities, including rooftop and carport solar power systems that were developed by SPG Solar and interconnected by Tucson Electric Power. The DC rooftop and carport system is 2.3 megawatts and is expected to provide a combined $6.2 million net revenue over the next 25 years.
The project demonstrates Tucson's commitment to sustainability, providing the community with up to 60 green energy jobs during the time of construction and two student internships, which could be useful for younger Americans interested in the future of energy in the country.
"This largest city solar project was made possible with low-interest Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, Tucson Electric Power's renewable energy credits and made easy by SPG Solar's experience and range of solar services," said Doug Crockett, City of Tucson energy manager. "We've basically initiated a municipal-owned solar utility which will generate net revenues to fund future energy efficiency and deferred maintenance projects on city facilities."
The latest projects built on Tucson's first phase of Arizona solar installations, which totaled one-megawatt of solar energy, including rooftop and single axis tracking systems.
SPG Solar provided Tucson with optimized rooftop and carport solar power systems at the Tucson Convention Center and Rincon Golf Links, among other sites, which will offset a total of 55 percent of the electricity used at each location.
"We're very pleased to be working with the City of Tucson and SPG Solar on these systems, which will produce clean, green energy for city facilities using one of Arizona's greatest natural resources - sunshine," said Carmine Tilghman, TEP's director of renewable resources. "We expect to dramatically expand our solar generating capacity to more than 200 MW by the end of 2014 through a combination of company-owned resources, privately developed projects and distributed generating systems like the ones installed by the City of Tucson."
The latest 2.3-megawatt solar system will produce an estimated 4 million kilowatt hours during the first year after installation, which is the equivalent of providing energy for 350 average American homes annually.
A little west of Arizona, California college students are also doing their part to increase solar energy in the region. Students from Stanford University, UC-Berkeley, UCLA and Cal Tech were recently awarded $200,000 for startups focusing on clean and renewable energy.