The Pima County Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to approve Fotowatio Renewable Ventures’ (FRV) planned solar system in Avra Valley, Arizona. When completed, the 25MW array will be Tucson Electric Power’s (TEP) largest single source of solar energy.
In addition to owning the system, FRV is also taking charge of its development and operation; building work will start in autumn and finish in April 2012. TEP has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement to buy all of the electricity produced at the 305-acre site.
“We commend the Pima County Board of Supervisors for recognising the value of this project and reinforcing our shared vision of Pima County as an ideal site for the development of cost effective, large-scale solar projects,” TEP chairman, president and CEO, Paul Bonavia, said. “This project will nearly double our solar energy resources while generating significant benefits for the local economy.”
Among these benefits will be nearly US$5 million in property and sales tax revenues for Pima County and significant lease revenue for Tucson Water, which owns the former farmland FRV are building on. The local workforce is also set to profit from the system, in the form of 200-300 short-term jobs.
“These were the kind of positive impacts we envisioned when we set out to build up TEP’s renewable power portfolio through local solar projects,” Bonavia added. “The benefits of green energy development will continue to grow as we work with government officials, developers and our customers to expand solar energy resources across Pima County.”
Avra Valley is one of 10 solar power projects planned for the Tucson area and TEP’s involvement offers further indication of its commitment to solar; TEP plans to expand its solar generating capacity from 25MW to more than 200MW by the end of 2014.