Arizona's State Land Department and Arizona Public Service (APS) have entered into an agreement to build the first solar project on Arizona State Trust lands.
Nearly 400 acres in Yuma County will be home to the 35 MW APS Foothills Solar Plant. The cost to APS for a 35-year lease on the land is $10 million, which will go primarily to help fund Arizona public education. All of the electricity produced from this facility will serve local Yuma residents.
For the past eight months, the State Land Department has done extensive work to identify State Trust land sites suitable for solar development. With these locations in mind, State Land Commissioner Maria Baier approached APS about building a solar plant on State Trust land, APS explains. This led to an independent assessment by APS to determine the most suitable development location for its next solar plant, which yielded the Yuma Foothills project site.
Foothills will create more than 100 construction jobs and will break ground in August. The plant is expected to come online in two phases: The first 17 MW will reach commercial operation by March 2013, and the remaining 18 MW will reach commercial operation by December 2013. APS has hired Atlanta, Ga.-based AMEC to construct the facility.