The 5MW multi-technology installation at Arizona Western College in Yuma, AZ was recognized on Wednesday March 21 in San Jose, CA by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) as one of the three most distinct photovoltaic projects of 2012. The announcement and ceremony took place at PV America’s annual conference.More than 84 projects were evaluated by a panel of independent judges, determining the uniqueness and collective benefit to the community. Judges also looked for innovative use of policy and financing to enhance the project’s impact, according to SEPA and SEIA.
The systems technologies include CPV panels from SolFocus and GreenVolts, Thin Film panels from Sharp Solar, Mono Crystalline panels from SolarWorld and Poly Crystalline panels from Suntech. The system will utilize single-axis trackers from SunEdison and dual-axis trackers from SolFocus and GreenVolts; the tracking systems allow the panels to continually track the movement of the sun in order to maximize electricity generation. A subsidiary of Main Street Power will own and operate the system for the next 30 years, saving AWC an estimated $62 million based on current electricity rates. This landmark system is composed of five different 1MW sites across the campus, and will offset nearly 100% of the campus’s daytime electricity, and will enable clean energy workforce development and training, and research opportunities.
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 Southwest states.The project was facilitated by the APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which offers financial incentives to residential and commercial customers.
Quotes from the Award and about the project:
"This award is a testament to a great team of collaborators including the EPC contractor, Rosendin Electric, who provided an excellent team of installers as well as the staff of Main Street Power. Special recognition also goes out to PPA Partners who originally brought the project to us, the leadership at AWC, and our partners at Morgan Stanley,” said Jonathan W. Postal, Sr. Vice President of Main Street Power. “SEIA and SEPA put on a great conference and trade show this week, and this award was the pinnacle of a great event for the Main Street Power team.”
“Main Street Power is honored to be part of such a great project and to win the SEIA 2011 Project of Distinction Award for 2011. All the partners should be proud of their work and efforts in expanding the adoption of solar power and the education of students at Arizona Western College,” said Amory Host, CEO of Main Street Power.“These are exciting times for the U.S. solar industry and the recipients of these awards exemplify energy innovation at its best,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA.
"Watching our campus be transformed by the construction of these five distinct solar arrays was an amazing experience for our students and staff. Having completed the project, we are optimistic about the benefits it will have, not only for our faculty and students, but as an economic catalyst for the entire region. We believe this solar installation can be a model for other institutions across the country, combining energy savings with workforce development and technology testing. This award will help us tell that story to a broader audience," stated Dr. Glenn Mayle, President of Arizona Western College.
"This project really speaks to national priorities for higher education, energy independence and job creation," stated Bruce Mercy, CEO of PPA Partners. "This is a landmark project in the solar world, and is a blueprint for institutions around the country seeking the benefits of R&D opportunities and a sustainable energy plan.""More than 17,500 customers have participated in the program since its inception in 2006," said Pat Dinkel, APS Vice President of Power Marketing, Resource Planning and Acquisition. "It's this commitment from our customers - like Arizona Western College - and our state's more than 300 days of sunshine that is helping to distinguish Arizona as a leader in the development of solar power."