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  • Pima County praised for role in Avra Valley Solar Project

    Dec 13, 2012 | Read More News
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    Utility officials on Thursday praised Pima County’s role in the completion of construction and beginning of commercial operations at the 25 megawatt Avra Valley Solar Project.

    Randy Hickok, senior vice president of NRG Solar, and George Antoun, chief operating officer of First Solar – the companies that worked together on the 200-plus acres of photovoltaic panels – both expressed appreciation for Pima County’s prompt processing of the required site development plan and permits.

    “It is clear they have made solar a priority,” Antoun said at a dedication ceremony at the site Thursday. The electricity generated by the solar project will be sold to Tucson Electric Power (TEP) under a 20-year agreement. Tucson Water is leasing to NRG Solar the property on which the project was built 20 miles west of Tucson at Avra Valley and Garvey roads.

    Hickok also thanked the Arizona Corporation Commission, the town of Marana, the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection for their assistance and support of the project.

    The project will meet the annual electricity needs of approximately 5,000 homes “without pollution, without noise, without traffic,” Hickok said. Generating that much power through solar avoids the annual emission of approximately 51,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of taking more than 10,700 cars off the road, he said.

    Antoun said that more than 660 people worked on the project, with 300 of them involved in its construction.
    The project will help TEP achieve the state mandate that 15 percent of its power production come from renewable sources by 2025. With other renewable resources and customer-sited solar facilities, TEP expects to have more than 250 megawatts of renewable energy resources by the end of 2013.