As the day dawns tomorrow, Arizona Western College (AWC) will be teaming with solar industry professionals, Main Street Power and Arizona Public Service as they break ground at the campus’ 5MW solar project. Owned and operated by Main Street Power, the solar installation will bear a unique marker, as the five-1MW sites across the campus will include CPV panels from SolFocus and GreenVolts, thin-film tandem-junction amorphous-silicon panels from Sharp Solar, monocrystalline panels from Solar World, and polycrystalline panels from Suntech.

Set for completion by this October, the power project will use single-axis trackers from O Solar and dual-axis trackers from SolFocus and GreenVolts, which, the companies’ state, will help the project produce almost 100% of the campus’ daytime electric needs. Rosendin Electric has designed and installed the solar project, which holds a 30-year PPA with Main Street Power.

“We know of no other solar project where all five technologies are showcased at utility scale, installed by the same group, at the same time with the same equipment, tracked and optimized, and under the best solar resource in the country. The data generated by the project should be very interesting,” stated Bruce Mercy, CEO of PPA Partners.

The AWC installation will have private demonstration systems featuring each PV technology for corporate and government comparisons and will be made accessible to students and researchers. AWC plans to offer new courses relating to the installation and intends to offer certificates and renewable energy degree programs, while additionally working with universities to collaborate for bachelor's and master’s degrees.

"This project is huge for our community, but also for the future of renewable energy education around the country. And, as colleges face increased enrollment and decreased funding, any steps we can take towards energy independence means more resources for classes, for faculty, and ultimately benefits the students," stated AWC President Glenn Mayle.

The 5MW installation was funded in part by the APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which provides financial incentives to residential and commercial customers.