07 December 2011
Arizona Western College (AWC), Main Street Power Company Inc. and Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona have turned on a 5 megawatt (MW) solar installation that will provide approximately 100% of the college's daytime electricity needs.
Other companies involved in the project are Morgan Stanley (MS) Solar Solutions Corp., PPA Partners, Arizona Public Service (APS) and Rosendin Electric. The solar project will drive sustainability, solar education and workforce training goals.
This installation brings together five different 1MW photovoltaic (PV) technologies for a 23-acre system to power the campus and enable clean energy workforce development, training and research opportunities. The installation is expected to return $62 million (USD) to the college in cost savings and other revenues over the 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Main Street Power.
The system will be owned and operated by a project company managed by Main Street Power as part of its long-term financing program with MS Solar Solutions Corp. The installation is facilitated by the APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which offers financial incentives to residential and commercial customers.
The technologies in the installation include concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) systems with dual-axis trackers from SolFocus and GreenVolts, thin-film panels from Sharp Solar, monocrystalline panels from SolarWorld, polycrystalline panels from Suntech and single-axis trackers from SunEdison. Inverters with solstice combiners are provided by SatCon with power generation monitoring and data management by Also Energy.
The installation also includes demonstration systems of each technology for corporate and government use with access available for students and researchers. New curriculum offerings at the college will range from solar technician certificates to renewable energy degree programs and partnerships are in the works with universities for continuing bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. The college's workforce training is expected to lead to thousands of clean energy jobs needed to complete numerous solar projects planned in Arizona and other states in the Southwestern US.