AZ: Multinational Solar Company Expands U.S. Presence by Moving into the UA Tech Park’s Solar Zone
16 Feb, 2012
The University of Arizona Science and Technology Park (UA Tech Park) is pleased to announce its newest, multinational, solar tenant -- AstroSol Tech Park AZ LLC (AstroSol).
AstroSol will own and operate a 6.1 megawatt solar photovoltaic facility using thin-film, amporphous silicon modules from Astronergy, mounted on a fixed-tilt racking structure from Schletter. The power generated from the facility will be sold directly to Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and distributed to the metropolitan area of Tucson. AstroSol anticipates the project to displace over 7,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide, meeting the electrical requirements of about 1,000 homes per year.
The multinational solar company is a partnership between Astronergy Solar Inc., a Chinese solar panel maker, and Solmotion GmbH, a German solar project developer, uniting into the newly formed company AstroSol Inc., who owns all member interest in the special purpose project company AstroSol Tech Park AZ LLC. The project is managed by vis solis LLC, Franklin, TN, the U.S. subsidiary of Solmotion.
This project will bring a new solar technology application into the Solar Zone. With the industry`s average conversion efficiency currently between 6-8%, the 9% conversion efficiency of Astronergy`s thin film makes it highly competitive for use in many large-scale applications. The manufacturing process consumes fewer raw materials and less energy, which makes it more cost effective, closing the gap between renewable energies and traditional energies. Under high temperatures like in Arizona and low light, Astronergy`s high efficiency tandem thin film modules convert electricity more effectively than many other types of photovoltaic modules.
“We literarily hit the ground running the last week of December 2011,” said Carlos Mayer, Managing Owner of vis solis LLC as well as Chief Operating Officer of AstroSol Inc. “This was possible because of the great relationship Astronergy had built with the Tech Park Authorities, Tucson Electric Power, North American Development Bank, and other stakeholders of the project.”
Power generated by the AstroSol array will be provided to TEP customers through a 20-year purchase power agreement. With more than 25 megawatts (MW) of solar generation online already, TEP expects to dramatically expand that capacity to more than 200 MW by the end of 2014 through a combination of company-owned resources, privately developed projects and distributed generating systems.
“We’re very pleased to be working with AstroSol to help bring this significant project to the Solar Zone,” said David Hutchens, President of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE: UNS). “AstroSol’s array will produce clean, green energy for our customers using one of Arizona’s greatest natural resources – sunshine.”
AstroSol Tech Park AZ LLC recently received certification from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and received financial approval for a $13.15 million loan from the Board of Directors of the North American Development Bank to construct the project. Construction on the 38.5-acre parcel of land in the Solar Zone commenced in December 2011 with power generation anticipated in May 2012.
“The Solar Zone is the ideal environment for cutting-edge solar technologies to be evaluated side-by-side. The UA Tech Park has emerged as one of the leaders for the testing and evaluation of leading solar technologies at the utility grid level,” said Bruce Wright, the Associate Vice President for University Research Parks. “AstroSol and vis solis complement the Solar Zone with its unique multinational perspective and technology collaboration.”
About UA Tech Park
The UA Tech Park advances the University of Arizona’s research mission and its efforts at technology development and technology commercialization. The UA Tech Park contributes $2.7 billion annually to Pima County’s economy. It is one of the region’s largest employment centers hosting 50 businesses and organizations that employ nearly 6,500 people. The UA Tech Park is also home to the Arizona Center for Innovation, a technology business incubator, and two educational institutions – UA South and Vail Academy and High School. The UA Tech Park is dedicated to sustainable development and operations. The Park recycles all it domestic and industrial waste water for use on site. It has implemented a recycling program and is upgrading existing buildings to energy efficient operations including the installation of new automated controls for heating, cooling, and lighting. The UA Tech Park has been nationally recognized as one of the premier university research parks in North America. Learn more about the Park at www.uatechpark.
About the Solar Zone
The Solar Zone is the global hot spot for the next generation of energy production, product development, testing and commercialization. The first-of-its-kind, solar centric research park offers a supportive, integrated and competitive environment that features:
- 18.5MW of solar power generation using multiple technologies
- Research and development of energy storage and other new solar technologies
- Manufacturing and supply chain capacity
- Testing and demonstration of eight solar energy systems
- Research, technology, talent and collaboration with the University of Arizona – A top 15 U.S. research university
- The UA Tech Park is working in collaboration with Tucson Electric Power to advance the Solar Zone that support the development of the solar industry in the region.
About vis solis
vis solis (lat. for “the power of the sun”) designs, builds and operates world-class solar electric generating systems – providing complete engineering, procurement, construction, financing, operation and management for solar photovoltaic energy projects. vis solis has completed more than 30 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power plants in Europe and North America and has another 30 megawatts in progress in the USA. To date, vis solis has completed projects with a total value exceeding U.S. $100 million.
Through its world-wide network of suppliers and technical expertise, and its strong relationships with manufacturers, vis solis provides its customers the highest level of performance at the most competitive prices. vis solis’ success is built on experience and integrity. Its owners and directors have strong credit and an excellent track record with banks and customers.
About Tucson Electric Power
TEP provides safe, reliable power for more than 402,000 customers in the Tucson metropolitan area. TEP was recognized last year as one of the top ten solar electric utilities in the nation for per-capita additions to its solar energy portfolio, according to the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). TEP was also recognized by SEPA with a Solar Business Achievement Award for its innovative Bright Tucson Community Solar Program, which allows customers to purchase solar energy directly from their utility. For more information, visit tep.com.