TEP currently has more than 45 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, enough to meet the annual electric needs of more than 8,000 Tucson homes. By the end of 2014, TEP expects to have more than 240 MW of solar generating capacity, enough to meet the annual electric needs of more than 46,000 homes.
SEPA is a Washington D.C.-based trade group with more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members nationwide. SEPA evaluated more than 50 utility companies in selecting TEP. TEP’s solar initiatives shined for several reasons, including:
- TEP’s Bright Tucson Community Solar program, the country’s first investor-owned utility program that allows customers to purchase energy from local solar arrays in 150 kilowatt-hour (kWh) “blocks.” Customers that purchase blocks of community solar can reduce or eliminate their use of conventional power while locking in an affordable solar energy rate for up to 20 years.
- The company’s partnership with the University of Arizona (UA) Science & Technology Park’s Solar Zone, where TEP both owns and purchases power from large, utility-scale solar farms built by several solar developers using different solar technologies.
- TEP’s 5 MW Sundt Solar Boost Project, which will produce up to 5 MW of electricity using a concentrating solar power system without added emissions at the company’s H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station in Tucson.
- TEP’s research of various forms of electric energy storage (EES) technologies, including a compressed air storage system at the UA’s Science and Technology Park southeast of Tucson.