NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar, has announced the start of commercial operations for the Avra Valley Solar Generating Station, a 25 megawatt (AC) photovoltaic facility near Tucson, Ariz. The station's electricity will be sold to Tucson Electric Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
"Today we celebrate the Avra Valley solar project as an example of our success in developing solar projects that meet the renewable energy needs of local utilities and generate cost-effective solar power over the long term," said Randy Hickok, Senior Vice President of NRG Solar. "Although NRG has many distributed solar projects and thermal operations in Arizona, this project represents our first delivery of solar power to Tucson Electric Power, helping TEP meet Arizona's renewable energy goals."
The NRG system will serve as the single largest solar array in TEP's renewable energy portfolio.
"We've worked hard to embrace solar energy as a clean, cost-effective renewable resource for our customers. The NRG system shows how we can expand our renewable energy portfolio while also investing in our community and helping to create jobs," said Paul J. Bonavia, Chairman and CEO of TEP and its parent company UNS Energy Corporation (NYSE: UNS).
The Avra Valley array will generate enough energy to meet the annual needs of approximately 5,000 homes, and up to 20,000 homes at peak capacity. Using clean solar power also avoids the annual emission of approximately 51,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking more than 10,700 cars off the road.
Avra Valley is the sixth large-scale solar facility in NRG's operational fleet, producing clean solar power for thousands of homes and businesses in three states. The other five are Agua Caliente in Yuma County, Ariz. (to be completed in 2014); Roadrunner in Doña Ana County in New Mexico; and Avenal, Blythe, and California Valley Solar Ranch (to be completed in 2013) in California.