SunPower Corp. signed an agreement with Arizona Public Service to design and construct a 15-MW solar photovoltaic power system at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona.
Scheduled for completion in the summer of 2011, it is expected to be the largest solar power installation at a U.S. government facility. About 550 local jobs will be created during construction.
"Installed on 101 acres of underutilized land, this system will generate the equivalent of 50 percent of the annual energy requirements for Luke Air Force Base," said Air Force Lt. Col. John Thomas, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron commander at Luke. "Benefits of the project to the American taxpayers include no initial out-of-pocket expenses to the Air Force, significant long-term savings on electricity costs, and the increased energy independence associated with using reliable, emission-free solar power."
"APS is committed to building a sustainable future, which includes the expansion of our renewable energy portfolio," said Brad Albert, general manager of Renewable Energy and Resource Acquisition of APS. "This plant will not only bring more clean renewable energy to the grid, but will also create jobs during its construction."
APS will own the system that SunPower designs, builds and maintains, and sell electricity to Luke Air Force Base under a long-term agreement.
The system will use high-efficiency SunPower solar panels, the most efficient solar panels on the market, with the SunPower Tracker system.
The Tracker follows the sun's movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while reducing land use requirements.
The system will generate the equivalent energy required for 3,750 Arizona homes, avoiding more than 19,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
"As a result of our previous experience working with the U.S. Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, as well as with other government agencies such as the General Services Administration and the U.S. Navy, SunPower has developed federal procurement capabilities that help agencies procure reliable, high performance solar systems utilizing a variety of mechanisms," said Karen Butterfield, SunPower's director of federal accounts. "Reliability and quality are the hallmarks of SunPower systems. We look forward to working with the APS and Luke teams on this very exciting project."
Construction is expected to commence in January once environmental assessments, permitting and site preparation is complete.