The future of the solar industry looks promising as the number of projects across the commercial, residential, municipal, industrial, and utility markets continues to expand. Everyone from facility directors to home owners understands the benefits associated with renewable energy, both economically and environmentally. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) 2014 Q4 Solar Market Insight Report, the U.S. installed 6,201 MWdc of solar PV in 2014, up 30 MWdc from 2013, making it the largest year ever in terms of PV installations.
Arizona is pioneering the push towards solar, installing more than 247 MW of solar electric capacity in 2014, ranking it 5th nationally according to SEIA.
Proof of these efforts is the Avalon Solar Project, a 35-MW solar farm just 12 miles south of Tucson. Situated on 500 acres of Arizona desert, the 225-acre installation generates enough emissions free solar energy to power 5,620 homes through Tucson Electric Power (TEP), the second-largest investor-owned utility in Arizona. Working with the Avalon Solar Project, TEP is well on its way to achieving the state mandate requiring 15 percent of its power production come from renewable sources by 2025.
Comprised of 114,720 solar panels, the project was developed by Clenera Renewable Energy (Clenera) and built by general contractor Swinerton Renewable Energy under the direction of Clenera and Panasonic Eco Solutions, who oversaw the design, engineering, and construction of the project. Headquartered in Japan, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking provided the financing for the sale to Coronal.
The Avalon Solar Project started producing solar power in December of 2014 and is expected to save 57,660 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment, the equivalent of taking 12,140 cars off the road annually. With projects like Avalon in place, Arizona is continuing to increase its use of solar energy and invest in solutions that help protect our planet.