SPI 2012: Tucson Electric Power plans 6MW SunPower C7 Tracker system

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Arizona-based utility firm Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has modified an existing agreement with SunPower Corp to incorporate 6MW of SunPower’s C7 Tracker system into a proposed facility which will also be equipped with 2MW of SunPower’s T5 Solar Roof Tile technology.

The SunPower C7 Tracker system is a solar PV tracking system which concentrates the sun’s power by seven times and, when at scale, is said to deliver the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for utility-scale solar power plants. According to the director of renewable resources and programmes at TEP, Carmine Tilghman, “SunPower's C7 Tracker provides us a great opportunity to expand our solar development while providing our customers with cost-effective renewable energy”.

The C7 Tracker combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto 22.8% efficient SunPower Maxeon solar cells, which are, the company claims, the world's most efficient commercially available solar cells. Using mirrors to reduce the number of solar cells required to generate electricity can lower the LCOE by up to 20% compared with competing technologies. 

Other benefits of the C7 Tracker include modular solar cell receivers which allow for future performance upgrades. Additionally, the SunPower advanced Tracker Monitoring and Control System (TMAC) provides wireless control of the power plant for increased operating efficiency and reduced maintenance cost.

The C7 Tracker is especially ideal for use in regions with high solar irradiance through direct sunlight, including the southwest of the US and areas of the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Installation of the C7 Tracker for TEP’s project will begin in January 2013 and is expected to be operational by December 2013. The installation will also help the company to reach its goal of incorporating more than 200MW of solar energy into its system by the end of 2013.

Under the previous agreement, SunPower was contracted to deliver 11 megawatts of rooftop solar technology to TEP.
 

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