SPI 2011: Tucson Electric Power receives award for solar community scheme

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The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has presented Tucson Electric Power (TEP) with a Solar Business Achievement Award for its Bright Tucson Community Solar Program. The scheme allows customers to purchase solar energy directly from local solar arrays in TEP’s catchment area.

This energy comes from solar arrays in 150kWh ‘blocks’, which add US$3 to the monthly bill of customers involved in the program. Customers have the option of buying some or all of their energy from solar, thus reducing usage of conventional power while also locking in an affordable solar energy rate for up to 20 years.

“TEP continues to demonstrate its leadership in the utility industry through the implementation of its Bright Tucson Community Solar Program,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA’s president and CEO. “Customers in the TEP service territory are lucky to have a progressive energy provider that offers programs that allow them to take advantage of solar energy in a low-cost, hassle-free way.”

David Hutchens, TEP’s executive vice president, accepted the award on Tuesday at the Solar Power International 2011 conference in Dallas. “The program breaks through barriers that prevented renters, property owners with limited rooftop space and others from investing in solar energy,” Hutchens said. “The Bright Tucson Community Solar program offers a flexible, affordable way to go green without any up-front cost or complications.”

The Bright Tucson Community Solar Program is part of TEP’s ongoing attempts to expand its solar generation capacity. At present, the utility has more than 25MW of PV systems connected to the grid, and by the end of 2014 it hopes this number will have passed 200MW, through a combination of company-owned resources, privately developed projects and distributed generating systems.

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