Duke Energy has acquired a commercial solar power project located within the University of Arizona’s Science and Technology Park (UA Tech Park) in an area dedicated to solar energy.
Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, purchased the 6-megawatt (MW) Gato Montes Solar Power Project from AstroSol Inc. The project is expected to achieve commercial operation within the next week.
Tucson Electric Power (TEP) will buy all of the electricity from the project under a 20-year agreement.
“Gato Montes is our fifth solar power project in Arizona in the past two years,” said Duke Energy Renewables President Greg Wolf. “In fact, we’ll have 37 MW of solar energy in production in Arizona by the end of the year, representing more than half of the 67 MW in our growing portfolio of solar projects nationwide.”
The solar photovoltaic thin-film, amorphous silicon technology used in the Gato Montes project is a first in the Duke Energy Renewables fleet. It is also unique at the UA Tech Park, where various solar projects are being tested under identical operating conditions to evaluate the most beneficial technology for solar energy production in the Southwest.
“The Gato Montes installation is an excellent example of cutting-edge technology,” said Bruce A. Wright, UA associate vice president for university research parks. “We are proud of our partnership with this project as it complements the mix of solar technology showcased at the UA Tech Park’s Solar Zone.”
Construction on the 38.5-acre parcel of land in the UA Tech Park began in December 2011 by vis-solis LLC, the U.S. subsidiary of Solmotion. AstroSol Inc. received certification from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and received financial approval for a $12.3M loan from the North American Development Bank to construct the project.
The Gato Montes Solar Power Project consists of 48,000 PV panels and is Duke Energy Renewables’ 12th wholly owned commercial solar project in the U.S.