Tag Archives: solar power

Cottonwood School Solar System

Harmon Solar Making a Solar Power Impact in Rural Arizona

Driving around the Valley, it’s hard to miss all of the solar panel installations that are taking place at many of the schools around town. What you probably haven’t noticed is this same type of activity is also happening at schools in more rural parts of the state. Through APS’ Solar for Schools and Government program, Harmon Solar is fortunate to be a big part of the alternative energy evolution and solar panel installations that are taking place in Northern and Southern Arizona!

The program is an innovative cooperative effort to enable publicly funded K-12 school districts, publicly funded charter schools and government entities to enjoy energy savings with solar power. In 2012 alone, Harmon Solar has been awarded almost 35% of the school projects available through this program, the most granted to any one solar installer! We have completed 10 photovoltaic solar panel arrays in Cottonwood, Douglas, Oak Creek, Prescott Valley, and Dateland, and another in Gadsden is underway. The solar power systems are installed on top of new covered parking structures, not only providing energy savings with solar power but much needed shade from the Arizona sun!

Harmon Solar is excited to be a partner with APS for their solar power program, Solar for Schools and Government, which will ultimately offset approximately 62,000 megawatt hours of energy consumption or generation over its first three years. This is equivalent to removing 5,400 cars from the road.

For more information, contact Harmon Solar at 623-879-0010 or visit www.harmonsolar.com.

SolarPower

Solar Power World Recognizes Three Arizona Companies

Solar Power World recognized three Arizona companies in the top 25 of its annual top 250 solar contractors list.

First Solar ranked No. 1, Wilson Electric cut the top 15 at No. 13 and McCarthy Building Companies came in at No. 23.

To see the entire list, click here.

“Our Renewable Energy team at McCarthy has been working on solar installations for 8 years and we have a combined experience of more than 30 years in the industry,” said Scott Canada, director of the Renewable Energy team at McCarthy Building Companies. “We’re pleased to be included in this list and to continue our work with the companies developing solar projects across the U.S.”

McCarthy has completed several large-scale solar installations in the Southwest, including the 18-megawatt (MW) APS Cotton Center Solar Station in Gila Bend, Ariz., and the 14 MW Hyder II Solar Power Plant located in Hyder, Ariz., which is currently in the late stages of construction.
At the 145-acre facility in Gila Bend, Ariz., crews installed 93,000 single-axis-mounted, silicon photovoltaic panels arranged in 1,662 rows. Crews also installed as many as 500 small-drilled caissons each day in an effort to isolate the panels from thearea’s highly corrosive soils. The project was completed one month ahead ofschedule, with zero recordable incidents during 75,000 man-hours.
In addition to large-scale PV installations, McCarthy has also worked with a number of school districts and universities in the Southwest and California to install smaller-scale solar projects on school rooftops and parking structures.

solar.plant

Mesquite Solar facility ready for business

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck today joined Sempra U.S. Gas & Power officials and community leaders to dedicate the 150-megawatt (MW) first phase of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s Mesquite Solar facility.

Located in Arlington, Ariz., about 40 miles west of Phoenix, Mesquite Solar 1 is part of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s massive 4,000-acre Mesquite Solar complex, with the potential to build out up to 700 MW of capacity. The Mesquite Solar Complex is well-positioned to be North America’s largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power installation.

“Mesquite Solar 1 represents a major step forward for the state of Arizona as we continue down the path toward our goal of establishing ourselves as the nation’s leader

in solar generation,” said Bennett.  “Sempra U.S. Gas and Power has demonstrated

remarkable leadership with this project, and we look to continue working together to fully build-out the Mesquite Solar Complex.”

“This is a shining moment for the state of Arizona as it continues to establish itself as a renewable energy leader,” said Kevin C. Sagara, vice president of renewables for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. “There is so much to be proud of here.  Our project would not have been possible without all the tremendous support we received at the federal, state and local level.”

Construction on Mesquite Solar 1 began in June 2011.  The solar project provided a boost to the local economy by creating more than 500 local construction jobs at peak along with 10 long-term positions. The landmark solar plant was completed in December 2012 and now generates enough emission-free electricity for about 56,000 homes.

The renewable power from Mesquite Solar 1 is sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year contract.

Completion of Mesquite Solar 1 brings Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s operating solar portfolio up to 300 MW. The company has another 308 MW under construction at its Copper Mountain Solar 2 and Copper Mountain Solar 3 facilities in Boulder City, Nev.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, LLC is a leading developer of renewable energy and natural gas solutions.  The company operates solar, wind and natural gas power plants that generate enough electricity for nearly 1 million homes, along with natural gas storage, pipelines and distribution utilities. The company is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2012 revenues of approximately $10 billion.  The Sempra Energy companies’ nearly 17,000 employees serve more than 31 million consumers worldwide.  For more information, visit www.SempraUSGP.com.

First Solar

First Solar buys Chilean solar company

Solar panel maker First Solar has purchased Chilean solar development company Solar Chile as energy demand continues to rise in the region.

The companies provided no financial terms in announcing the deal on Wednesday.

First Solar Inc., which is based in Tempe, bought Fundacion Chile’s stake in the company. First Solar and Fundacion Chile created a strategic working alliance with each other in October 2011. Fundacion Chile will continue to provide consultation services.

Solar Chile has photovoltaic power projects totaling approximately 1.5 gigawatts in northern Chile. Its five employees will join First Solar.

First Solar shares finished at $31.02 on Tuesday. They have almost tripled from a 52-week low of $11.42 in June. They peaked for the past year at $50.20 last February.

Solar Power

Solar Power Is Not Just About Saving the Planet

We believe that aside from the political hype, solar technology as an energy alternative is a fiscally healthy change for many businesses. Solar is a proven technology, and business should understand how they can take advantage of the long-term energy solutions that solar can provide.

When it comes to energy efficiency, reducing expenses, or planning for the future of your company, solar power is an option that should be investigated. Here are a few questions businesses should consider asking:

  • Is my building energy efficient?
  • Is solar an economical solution?
  • What are the advantages of becoming green?

The cost of energy increases every year, and utility expenses we see on profit and loss statements are substantial.  The average 2,300-square-foot household in Phoenix pays 11 cents a kilowatt for energy.  Seems like pennies, but after 12-months this amounts to $2,530 dollars. A business, by comparison, with 25,000 to 100,000 square feet of combined office and warehouse space, could be spending as much as $90,000 a year with the utility company. That’s a lot of pennies.

The number of companies converting to green technology is fast becoming commonplace.  In fact, the Arizona Corporation Commission requires regulated utilities to generate 15 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2025.

An Intro

A solar cell is a device that directly converts the energy in light into electrical energy through the process of photovoltaic or what’s commonly called solar PV. Throughout the southwest, federal, state, municipal and city governments — as well as most of the Fortune 1000 — are converting to solar as a means to reduce utility costs.

Commercial solar is most commonly installed on the roof but more and more solar installations are being built as solar-shaded parking structures. Businesses are benefiting from the energy production while providing the dual benefit of shaded parking for their clients and employees.

Fast Facts

  • A typical silicon cell solar module will have a life in excess of 20 years.
  • Each hour of each day, more energy from the sun reaches our planet than is used by the entire global population in an entire year.
  • Historically, public utilities in Arizona have increased utility rates an average of five percent a year.
  • More than 3,500 square miles of federal land is currently awaiting permits for solar power development.

State and Federal Tax Rebate Program Highlights

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit: This is a Federal ITC of 30 percent based on the cost of the system installed. There is no cap to the amount of the ITC credit. In addition, solar qualifies for bonus depreciation as well as accelerated depreciation on 85 percent of the system cost.

Performance-Based Incentive (PBI): This is a quarterly rebate paid by the public utility. The rebate is paid as a cash incentive for 20 years based on the amount of solar energy produced. The PBI is used to help offset the cost of installing solar.

Arizona State Corporate Tax Credit: This is a state tax credit of 10 percent of the cost of the system not to exceed $25,000 per building/structure or $50,000 annually per business.

Questions to Ask

First, the business owner should meet with a qualified solar expert and have them complete comprehensive energy efficiency and cost analysis that includes:

  • Review of state, federal tax and cash incentives
  • Utility incentives and cash rebates
  • Cost savings analysis

Second, thoroughly review the tax benefits associated with installing solar.  The tax benefits as you will see can be significant, so take some time reviewing all the benefits of the tax and incentives offered through the public utilities. Keep in mind that SRP incentives are structured differently from APS and TEP.  The utilities have very comprehensive websites to help you understand the options available. Alternatively, you can contact a solar integrator or installation company as they have a good handle on all rebate and incentive options.

Finally, evaluate financing the hard cost of installing solar. If the out-of-pocket costs to install solar combined with the cost to finance is less than the historical energy costs, then seriously consider going green.

solar power

SOLON Receives 1.15MW Solar Power Contract In Tucson

SOLON Corporation, one of the largest providers of turnkey solar power plants and photovoltaic (PV) products in the U.S., today announced it has contracted with the Tanque Verde Unified School District (TVUSD) to build 1.15-megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) systems in Tucson.

The total system capacity for the TVUSD project, 1.15 megawatts (MW), is spread over 4 campuses of the Tanque Verde High School and Elementary School, the Emily Gray Junior High School and the Agua Caliente Elementary School. These systems will be a combination of shade structures and rooftop systems, and the outputs will offset a large portion of the daytime energy requirements of each campus.

SOLON will engineer, design, construct, commission and maintain the operation of the systems. SOLON will provide the energy produced by these systems to TVUSD through a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA). Under this form of ownership, TVUSD will be responsible only for purchasing the solar electricity that the systems produce, and will enable the District to reduce its operating expenses by saving money on its utility bills with no upfront costs required. As utility rates continue to rise over the next 25 years, TVUSD will enjoy a low fixed rate for this electricity, and the campus’ students, staff and guests will benefit from the shade provided by the structures. This program is helped made possible by the rebates provided by the local utility, Tucson Electric Power (TEP).

“We are very pleased that our district will benefit in many ways from the installation of solar energy systems,” said Claire Place, member of the TVUSD Governing Board. “The idea to implement a solar energy project as part of TEP’s renewable energy rebate program began with community input, and that initiative will positively impact our district and schools for many years to come. The solar installations will bring cost savings, campus improvements and educational opportunities to our students, staff and community. As the solar power provider selected for this project, SOLON has been very responsive to our district needs and specifications. We look forward to our continuing partnership with them as we move through the installation and integration phases of this project.”

“SOLON has become a leading provider for solar solutions to the K-12 school districts in Arizona by listening to our customers’ needs,” said Robert Wanless, Director of Business Development for SOLON Corporation. “Understanding the unique requirements of a school is essential to delivering a complete solution that will work for not only their energy needs, but also will provide the optimal financing solution to maximize cost savings. SOLON has enjoyed working with TVUSD to ensure the systems have been designed to be the most functional for each campus.”

These systems will be completed and fully operational later this year and early 2013.

For more information on SOLON Corporation and its solar power plant contract with TVUSD, visit SOLON’s website at solon.com.

Solar in Australia

First Solar To Provide Power Projects Under Australian Solar Flagships Program

First Solar announced it will design, construct and maintain two utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects totaling 159 megawattsAC (MW) for AGL Energy Limited as part of Australia’s Solar Flagships Program. AGL was selected as the successful proponent in the solar PV category of the program and will receive federal and state government funding to help deliver on its commitment to greater investment in renewable electricity generation.

The Australian Government’s Solar Flagships Program is one of a number of programs and market mechanisms providing unprecedented support for the development of a broad range and scale of solar energy projects and technologies in Australia. The Solar Flagships Program is offering funding to support the construction and demonstration of large-scale, grid connected solar (PV and thermal) power stations in Australia.

Under the program, AGL will develop a 106 MWAC project in Nyngan and a 53 MWAC project in Broken Hill, both in New South Wales. First Solar will design and construct the integrated PV power plants, using its leading engineering, procurement and construction services and its advanced thin-film PV modules for both projects. First Solar will also maintain both projects for AGL Energy for their first five years of commercial operation. The electricity produced by the projects will be sold under power purchase agreements to AGL Hydro Partnership, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL.

The projects will be supported with funding provided by the federal government and the state government of New South Wales under separate funding agreements.

“This is a significant step forward for the utility-scale solar industry in Australia—an order of magnitude increase in project size—and a testimony to the confidence our customers have in First Solar technology and its performance in some of the hottest and harshest conditions in the world,” said Jim Hughes, First Solar Chief Executive Officer. “These projects demonstrate First Solar’s ability to apply its vertically integrated capabilities to deliver competitive, comprehensive, utility-scale solar solutions in future sustainable markets. We look forward to working with AGL on more projects like this in the future.”

On an annual basis, the projects will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of at least 30,000 Australian homes. The projects are expected to provide approximately 350 GWh of energy annually.

The projects are expected to create approximately 450 jobs at peak construction. Construction is expected to begin on both projects in 2014, with commercial operation in 2015. AGL will be the majority owner of the project vehicle.

“AGL is delighted to be working with the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments, the people of Broken Hill and Nyngan, and our project partner First Solar to deliver these significant renewable energy projects. These projects represent a tremendous opportunity for AGL and the broader solar industry to begin the roll-out of solar power as a meaningful source of generation supply in Australia,” said Michael Fraser, AGL’s Managing Director.

AGL is one of Australia’s leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for investors, communities and customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has Australia’s largest dual fuel customer base. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia’s largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.

For more information on First Solar and Australia’s Solar Flagships Program, visit First Solar’s website at firstsolar.com and visit Australian Government’s website at ret.gov.au.

renewable energy projects

REIF Awards $1.3 Million For AZ Renewable Energy Projects

The agencies that oversee the Arizona Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) have awarded eight Native American organizations with $1.3 million to build renewable energy systems in their communities. The renewable energy projects include wind and solar facilities for schools in Leupp and Kayenta, solar power for an assisted-living facility in Moenkopi and solar panels for a housing project in Peach Springs.

REIF is managed by Tempe-based Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power and the Grand Canyon Trust. REIF was provided with $5 million in funds after the expansion of the Springerville Generating Station in 2009 to support projects that reduce pollution and benefit Native American communities across Arizona and in northwestern New Mexico. With the latest grant awards, REIF has now distributed more than $2.2 million for various community wind and solar projects.

“We received a number of extraordinary applications seeking an opportunity to create renewable energy projects that support opportunities for sustainable economic development,” said Roger Clark, program director for the Grand Canyon Trust. “In the end, we selected eight well-planned proposals from organizations that provide essential services to their communities.”

“Investing in renewable energy projects is not without its challenges for smaller businesses and non-profit organizations in Indian communities,” said Lori Singleton, SRP director of emerging customer programs. “REIF helps these agencies achieve their goal to reduce energy costs by using sustainable energy systems.”

The eight proposals to receive the latest awards from REIF were selected based on a number of criteria, such as their ability to generate renewable energy, cost effectiveness and the ability for the project to be completed.

“We look forward to the launch of these exciting projects from this round of awards, including a number of projects that will support renewable energy education opportunities in tribal communities,” said Jim Arwood, a member of the REIF board.

The Grand Canyon Trust is a leading regional conservation organization with offices across the Colorado Plateau.

Salt River Project is the third-largest public power utility in the nation, serving more than 950,000 electric customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

Tucson Electric Power, a subsidiary of UNS Energy, provides safe, reliable service to more than 404,000 customers in the Tucson metropolitan area.

Find out more about the organizations who received funds for renewable energy projects at Grand Canyon Trust. Visit Grand Canyon Trust’s website at grandcanyontrust.org.

first solar - new ceo

First Solar Appoints Hughes CEO

First Solar, Inc. announced that James Hughes has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Hughes succeeds Mike Ahearn, First Solar’s founder and Chairman, who has been serving as interim CEO since Oct. 2011. Hughes joined First Solar in March as Chief Commercial Officer. Ahearn will continue in his role as Chairman of the Board.

“Jim has been instrumental in developing the strategic plan that will enable us to compete and win in this new era for the solar industry, and it became clear he is the right person to lead the execution of that plan,” said Ahearn. “Jim brings a wide range of experience that will be invaluable in leading our organization, having owned and operated utilities, built power projects, cultivated partnerships and led profitable growth in a wide array of key markets around the world.”

“I am excited for this opportunity to lead First Solar into a new era for the industry,” said Hughes. “First Solar is unrivaled in terms of talent and experience and has the premier platform from which to implement solar power at a meaningful scale around the world. The rapid cost reductions in the industry position solar at the threshold of the mainstream energy markets, and we are well-positioned to capitalize on that opportunity.”

Hughes has nearly 20 years of experience in the global energy industry. Before joining First Solar, he served as the CEO of AEI, which owned and operated power distribution, conventional and renewable power generation, natural gas transportation and natural gas distribution businesses in 19 countries. Prior to that, he was President and Chief Operating Officer for Prisma Energy.

Hughes earned a juris doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, a Certificate of Completion in international business law from Queen Mary’s College, University of London, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University.

For more information on First Solar, visit First Solar’s website at firstsolar.com.

energy innovation aps

APS Recognized For Energy Innovation

Arizona Public Service Company ( APS ) has been recognized as one of the top 10 electric utilities in North America for energy innovation according to GreenTech Media and GTM Research, a leading source for clean energy news, analysis and trade events.

The award – titled “The Networked Grid: Top Ten Utility Smart Grid Deployments in North America” – was based on nominations from utilities and vendors and judged by GTM Research analysts.

“Technology is changing everything, including the electricity grid. Our challenge is to make sure APS is investing in technologies that provide value for our customers, make financial sense and are here for the long run. This award is an indication that we are on the right track,” said APS Director of Energy Innovation Barbara Lockwood.

Among its energy innovation projects, APS recently announced the testing of an energy storage system in Flagstaff, Arizona. The system is the size of a shipping container and can generate the equivalent power output of 1,200 hybrid cars. APS is testing several uses in an electrical distribution substation, where it may one day help to dispatch power temporarily during outages. Eventually, the system will support a solar power plant and help to get more renewable energy generation onto the grid.

Flagstaff is home to a number of APS energy innovation pilots including the Community Power Project, which is testing the effects of a high concentration of solar energy in a single distribution area. The study will enable APS to optimize the grid for a future where large percentages of customers in a neighborhood could have solar panels.

APS also is engaged in a self-healing/self-isolating grid pilot and a distribution fault anticipation pilot in Flagstaff. The latter two technologies help predict and manage system faults, resulting in reduced power outages and quicker repair times.

Later this year, a home energy information pilot will test customer benefits of in-home energy displays, programmable thermostats and residential demand response programs.

Earlier this year, APS energy innovation programs were ranked fourth nationally by Intelligent Utility magazine and IDC Energy Insights.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

For more information on APS and their project in Flagstaff, visit APS’ website at aps.com.

solar projects

ASU’s Solar Projects Earn Climate Impact Recognition

Arizona State University (ASU) has been recognized for its cutting-edge work in promoting environmental sustainability through it’s solar projects by the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), an agreement between nearly 700 colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action.

The university earned the distinction in large part because of its commitment to rely on solar power to fuel its energy needs. ASU has 57 solar photovoltaic projects with the capacity to generate more than 15 megawatts across four campuses. Combined, they enable the university to reduce carbon emissions by 16,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is roughly the same as the annual emissions of 1,500 homes or 3,000 passenger vehicles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The solar projects, which comprise the largest, single university solar installation in the country, now account for approximately 30 percent of the university’s peak daytime power needs. ASU’s reliance on renewable energy reduces the university’s costs and helps it build community ties with solar business partners.

The ACUPCC acknowledged ASU’s efforts as part of its Celebrating Sustainability series, which identifies signatories that exemplify the initiative’s mission to re-stabilize Earth’s climate through education, research and community engagement. Celebrating Sustainability is formally recognizing a different institution every business day in April leading up to Earth Day on April 22.

“Arizona State University is located in one of the sunniest parts of the country, so its focus on solar power is practical and proving effective,” said Dr. Anthony D. Cortese, president of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the ACUPCC. “ASU is putting its vocal advocacy of sustainability on display for students and community members to see. It is extremely important for today’s students to not only learn about sustainability in the classroom, but to also see it put into practice on their campuses. We applaud ASU for being responsible to its students and its community.”

“We are generating a sizeable portion of our power needs from renewable sources because in the long term, it helps keep energy costs down,” explained Ray Jensen, associate vice president of university business services and university sustainability operations officer at ASU. “We monitor our solar projects in real time to ensure they are functioning efficiently. As an environmentally conscious university, it is important that we lead by example.”

Find out more about ASU’s solar projects at sustainability.asu.edu/practice/.

SunPower Solar Power

SunPower Solar Power Plant Planned For ASU Polytechnic Campus

SRP and Arizona State University (ASU) have teamed up to build a 1-megawatt, solar power plant on the Polytechnic campus in Mesa. The plant will feature the first commercial deployment of SunPower C7 Tracker technology. This solar photovoltaic tracking system concentrates the sun’s power seven times and is designed to achieve the lowest-leveled cost of electricity for solar power plants available today.

The SunPower solar power plant will utilize the C7 technology, but it won’t be the first solar power plant on the ASU Polytechnic campus. Two plants have already begun construction thanks to the SRP EarthWise Solar Energy Incentive Program.

“There are two other solar systems in construction at this time by Ameresco Southwest, a 298 kWdc and 511 kWdc,” says Jean Humphires, director of design and support services in the ASU Capital Programs Management Group. “Design of these systems began in August 2011; they will be operational by the end of March 2012.”

The ASU solar plant will be the third commercial-scale solar facility in the Valley of the Sun to provide energy for SRP, producing approximately the energy needed to serve about 225 SRP customers’ homes. The Polytechnic solar power plant will require minimal water use and supports ASU’s renewable energy goal to achieve 20-megawatts by 2014.

SunPower is engineering and constructing the plant on the southeast corner of the ASU Polytechnic campus and will operate and maintain it. Under a purchase-power agreement, SRP will buy the entire output of the solar plant from SunPower and, in a separate agreement, ASU will purchase all of the energy attributable to the plant for use at its Polytechnic campus, estimated to be more than two million kilowatts per year.

According to Humphries, 17 percent of the ASU Polytechnic campus peak load will be covered by the solar power plant, and the SunPower solar plant will be operational by the end of 2012.

The C7 Solar Power Technology

The C7 Tracker combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto 22.8 percent efficient SunPower Maxeon solar cells. The technology uses mirrors to reduce the number of solar cells required to generate electricity and will lower the levelized cost of electricity by up to 20 percent compared to other technologies. For example, the 1-megawatt C7 Tracker power plant at ASU will require only 172 kilowatts of SunPower solar cells.

“The SunPower C7 Tracker leverages SunPower’s depth of experience developing reliable tracking systems and delivers bankable technology with guaranteed performance,” says Howard Wenger, SunPower president. “We applaud our partners on this project in selecting this advanced technology platform that will deliver cost-effective renewable energy for the long-term.”

Integrating Solar Power Into Polytechnic Programs

There are four related educational and research programs on the Polytechnic Campus:

  • Undergraduate and master’s programs in alternative energy technologies and environmental technology management
  • An alternative energy focus area in the Technological Entrepreneurship and Management program.
  • The Photovoltaic Reliability Lab, directed by Dr. Govindasamy Tamizhmani, which is focused on real-world and simulated-condition aging and testing of in-field PV components
  • The Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) test bed overseen by Milton Sommerfeld and Qiang Hu

“The learning environment at the College of Technology and Innovation on the ASU Polytechnic campus is distinguished by a hands-on, project- and team-focused curriculum developed and delivered by faculty with extensive real-world experience,” says Mitzi Montoya, Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Technology & Innovation at Arizona State University. “Existing and new facilities on campus, like the Polytechnic solar plant, give our students opportunities to become more deeply engaged in their learning by providing applied context to classroom lessons.”

For more information about SunPower, visit sunpowercorp.com.

Solar Energy Arizona Western College,

Solar Energy Builds on Arizona Western College Campus

The current economic situation has spurred a lot of talk, advertisements and encouragement to buy local and use local to sustain our economy. The Guinness Book of World Records named Yuma, AZ the sunniest city on earth, so where better to utilize innovative solar energy technology on Yuma’s Arizona Western College campus?

The Project

The Arizona Western College in Yuma is in the process of installing solar panels to cover close to 100 percent of its daytime electricity needs and cut its costs, all of which are planned to happen by October 2011. However, this project is doing more than just generating solar energy; it is utilizing five new types of photovoltaic technology from six different companies.

Arizona Western College plans to use the solar panels to teach classes on solar technology, installation and environmental engineering. This three-year solar project, from vision to completion, was partially funded by APS and will be managed by Main Street Power for 30 years and after the contract expires, the equipment will become part of the college and continue producing energy, says Lori Stofft, the director of public relations and marketing at Arizona Western College.

It is unique to apply five different technologies to a single institution, but that is one of the projects innovative angles.

The five photovoltaic technologies and the companies behind them include:

(c)2011 Arizona Western College by Ernest Yates

1. CPV (concentrator photovoltaic) from SolFocus, including their dual-axis trackers and GreenVolts fully integrated system including two-axis trackers and inverter
2. Thin Film panels from Sharp Solar
3. Monocrystalline panels from Solar World
4. Poly Crystalline panels from Suntech
5. Single-axis trackers from O Solar

Another unique aspect of this project is that the building process is streamed live over the internet to allow the community and the solar technology companies to check in on the progress.

“A lot of our partners are in Northern California, Germany, Spain… we wanted those people to feel like they were connected to our campus and that they could check in seven days a week and find out what was going on,” Stofft says. “It’s a way to include our partners in the building process.

The ground breaking was in May 2011 and the “Flip the Switch” completion ceremony is slated for October 2011. Only six months were allotted to cover 23 acres of land with solar arrays. The tight deadline was set in order to meet APS’s guidelines for the funding.

The Educational Advantage

It would make more sense to use one solar technology instead of five if it was just about energy generation, but it’s not, Stofft says. It’s about allowing the companies to measure their technologies against one another in one of the harshest climates on earth. Another educational aspect of the project will be the incubation area and the demonstration garden.

“The demonstration garden will have nine different technologies that students and the public will have access to,” Stofft  says. “They can see how [the technologies] measure against each other and what measures against the five major arrays.”

The incubation area is based on rental, and for a fee, technology companies can rent a private and secure area for a small array where they can test their equipment against the solar arrays already in place. The estimated savings for Arizona Western College with the solar array in place will be $3.5 million in the first 10 years, $15.4 million in 20 years and a projected $40 million over 30 years, including incubation rental fees.

“It’s more than just saving our tax payers money; it can be a road map for other colleges around the country who want to educate their own students,” Stofft  says. “There are all sorts of certificate and training programs and we could be educating people who work in solar industry at all levels.”

Arizona Western College graduated their first solar installer class of 19 in spring 2011 and are in the process of embedding solar technology into new and existing programs, developing 2-year degrees that can be transferred to four-year institutions.

(c)2011 Arizona Western College by Ernest Yates

It seems as though everyone wins.

Arizona Western College saves money; the solar companies get to test and monitor their technology in a large scale setting; the students reap the benefits, and the community creates jobs. The only thing left is getting a White House representative, or the president himself to the “Flip the Switch” ceremony.

A Presidential Approval

“The goal is to attract national attention to the array,” Stofft  says. “I really feel this is about energy independence for our country.”

Arizona Western College sent a formal invitation to the White house, but there has been no response yet. They are keeping their fingers crossed, and if the White House plans to respond, it still has time.

“The students, faculty and community are so proud that this solar array is being installed,” Stofft  says. “And if we can get the White House to visit, that will just be the cherry on top.”

For more information about Arizona Western College’s solar panels and its progress, visit www.azwestern.edu.

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Videos

Watch: AWC Solar Array Presidential Invite

Watch: AWC Solar Array Groundbreaking May 2011

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BIG Green Expo

BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

The 2011 BIG Green Expo & Conference took place on April 15 & 16, 2011 at the Phoenix Convention Center.


About BIG Green


The greening of business, development, government and consumer products is at an all time high and growing exponentially. Rising energy costs, new laws, and growing demand for environmentally friendly consumer products continue to drive the green marketplace. In 2010, the BIG Green Expo & Conference took place at the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix. It is Arizona’s largest green conference — with 200 exhibitors and more than 10,000 individuals participating in the event. The BIG Green Expo & Conference targets both the commercial and residential industries. The expo showcases sustainable products and services impacting every area of life. Those attending the conference will hear from prominent industry voices on both a local and national level, who will share their insight and knowledge of an environmental-friendly future. Some speakers in attendance were Colin Tetreault (Topic: LEED is DEAD, The Next Evolution of Business), Loretta Hall (Topic: Earth Sheltering for Sustainable Public Buildings), Adam Robbins (Topic: The LED Revolution: Learn about LED technology) and Diane Brossart (Topic: Sustainable & How You Can Be Part of the Solution). Whether you’re a savvy homeowner looking to create a more sustainable home, or a business owner looking to create a greener space for employees — the BIG Green Expo & Conference has something for everyone.


Topics covered:

Green Awareness Solar Power Water Efficiency Sustainability LEED Certification Green Return on Investment Existing Building Retrofitting Sustainable Product Use & Design Green Government Programs Sustainable Building Practices Greening your home & business

Attendees of BIG are:

Architects, builders, contractors, and engineers (commercial and residential) Government, institutional and corporate purchasing/supply chain managers CEO’s, senior management and purchasing managers Corporate planners, business leaders Facility & Property managers Homeowners

Exhibitors are suppliers of:

Building and construction products and services Architectural and engineering services: (commercial, residential, government and institutional) Local, state, federal, non-profit and private green programs Waste management Renewable energy Transportation Furnishings and Appliances Landscaping Interior/Exterior design Consumer goods and services

Sponsored by:

BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011 Sponsored by SRP


For more information or to reserve a booth for next year, please visit exposaz.com and contact

Phone: 602-277-6045 Fax: 480-361-8707 Email: exposaz@azbigmedia.com

 

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Southwest Build-it-Green Expo & Conference

Speaking Opportunities At The Annual Southwest Build-It-Green Conference

Don’t miss out! The annual Southwest Build-It-Green Expo & Conference is scheduled for April 15-16, 2011 and speaking opportunities are still available! Fill out your speaker form (PDF) today.

As the largest sustainability expo in Arizona, this is one event you won’t want to miss. Last year’s expo attracted more than 200 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees, with topics ranging from green awareness, to solar power, LEED certification, water filtration, and many more.

BIG also features guest speakers of local, national and international prominence. Among some of the speakers last year were Anthony Floyd, AIA, LEED-AP Green Building Manager for the City of Scottsdale; Dr. Tom Rogers, professor and Chair of Construction Management at Northern Arizona University; Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward; James Brew from the Rocky Mountain Institute; Lori Singleton, manager of Sustainability Initiatives and Technologies at Salt River Project and many more.

In addition to the conference, the exhibits showcase products such as eco-friendly appliances and environmentally conscious landscaping techniques that aim to reduce Arizona’s carbon footprint. There are a wide variety of topics and something for everyone – homeowners and businesses alike.

For more information visit www.builditgreenexpo.com.