College breaks ground on 5 MW solar power project

Arizona Western College, Main Street Power Co. Inc., PPA Partners, Arizona Public Service and Rosendin Electric broke ground May 24 on a 5 MW solar project slated for completion in October 2011.

The system will be owned and operated by Main Street Power, in partnership with its long-term financing partner MS Solar Solutions, a unit of Morgan Stanley.

The system includes five 1 MW sites across the campus. The technologies include concentrating photovoltaic panels from SolFocus and GreenVolts, thin film panels from Sharp Solar, mono crystalline panels from Solar World and poly crystalline panels from Suntech. The system will use single-axis trackers from
O Solar and dual-axis trackers from SolFocus and GreenVolts.

The project combines multiple solar technologies in one location. "The data generated by the project should be very interesting,” said Bruce Mercy, CEO of PPA Partners.

Rosendin Electric designed and will install the project, which is expected to produce virtually all of the campus’ daytime electricity needs. The project could save the college more than $40 million dollars over the 30-year power purchase agreement with Main Street Power.

The installation was facilitated by the APS' Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which offers financial incentives to residential and commercial customers.

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