Solar Power Array at Tucson Water Treatment Facility

SunPower solar photovoltaic Tracker array
Tucson Water’s new SunPower solar photovoltaic Tracker array.
Tucson Water

The City of Tucson, Arizona has doubled its solar power capacity with the completion of a a 1-megawatt, ground-mounted solar power system at the Tucson Water Department’s underground water storage and recovery . The system was designed and built by SunPower on city-owned, former agricultural land approximately 20 miles west of downtown Tucson.

“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 City of Tucson financed the system through a power purchase agreement with SunPower. Under the terms of the agreement, Wells Fargo owns the system that SunPower designed, built, operates, and maintains. Trico Electric, the utility serving the site, provided additional funding via its SunWatts renewable energy incentive program. The city is hosting the system and buying the electricity produced by it. Trico Electric Cooperative will purchase the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the system. The city’s cost for the energy will be competitive with its current bulk retail rate, with no initial capital investment.

“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.”

On the 10-acre site, SunPower installed a SunPower Tracker system. The Tracker positions solar panels to follow the sun’s movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.

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.

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