Solar Power in Arizona - History


The first commercial solar power plant in the state is the 1997 95 kilowatt (kW) single-axis tracking photovoltaic plant in Flagstaff, Arizona, operated by Arizona Public Service (APS). In 1999, the City of Scottsdale covered an 8,500 square feet (790 m2) parking lot with photovoltaic panels, to both provide shaded parking, and generate 93 kW of solar power. In 2001 APS and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University constructed a 190 kW single-axis tracking photovoltaic power plant.

In 2001, the Springerville Generating Station Solar System was built by Tucson Electric Power, one of the first large scale photovoltaic power stations. Originally 4.6 MW, it has been expanded to 6.4 MW. In 2002, Love Field Airport, in Prescott, Arizona began construction of a 5 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic power plant. By July 2006, it had a peak capacity of 2.879 MW AC.

The two operating concentrated solar power plants are the 1 MW Saguaro Solar Power Plant completed in 2005, the first commercial CSP plant of the 3rd millennium, and a 5 MW solar trough system at the University of Arizona Solar Tech Park project which was completed in 2011. The 280 MW Solano Generating Station is under construction. The 1.5 MW Maricopa Solar Power Plant completed in 2010, using Stirling dish technology, was decommissioned in September 2011 and sold at auction on April 17, 2012 to CondiSys Solar Technology of China, for $250,000.

In 2008 Governor Janet Napolitano said that Arizona had the potential to become "the Persian Gulf of solar energy". In 2012, the NREL determined that Arizona has the potential to install 5,147 GW of photovoltaic power plants, and/or up to 3,528 GW of concentrated solar power plants (CSP), sufficient to generate more than three times total US consumption in 2012. According to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research, Arizona installed over 55 megawatts of solar power in 2010, doubling its 2009 increase of 21 MW, ranking it behind California (259 MW), New Jersey (137 MW), Florida (110 MW), and Nevada (61 MW). By the end of 2011, Arizona had installed 383 MW of photovoltaics, in third place, behind New Jersey, and California.

In 2012 the first 100 MW of the Agua Caliente Solar Project was connected to the grid, making it the largest photovoltaic power plant in North America, and third largest in the world, being slightly larger than the 97 MW Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant. By July over 200 MW had been completed, making it the largest photovoltaic power plant in the world. By September 2012, 250 MW (AC) had been completed.

In January 2013, 150 MW of the 700 MW Mesquite Solar project photovoltaic power plant was completed.

Historically, Arizona has had one of the most successful solar incentive programs in the United States. However, as of February, 2013, the Arizona Corporation Commission has completely eliminated commercial incentives and has severely reduced the amount of residential incentives available.

Read more about this topic:  Solar Power In Arizona

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