TEP Developing 25 MW PV Plant, 5 MW CSP Plant With Thermal Storage


Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is working with partners to develop two new solar power systems that will generate enough energy to serve more than 6,000 homes in Tucson, Ariz.

The systems, including a new 25 MW photovoltaic array and a 5 MW concentrating solar power (CSP) plant, are expected to be completed by January 2012. TEP has agreed to purchase power for 20 years from both systems, which will be privately owned and operated.

The 25 MW PV array, which will be owned and operated by the global solar company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, will feature ground-mounted solar panels that rotate along a single axis.

The CSP project will use rows of parabolic troughs and a heat-transfer and storage system to create pressurized vapor that will be used to drive a turbine. Bell Independent Power Corp.'s Bell Energy Storage Technology (BEST) will be incorporated into the plant.

BEST has been designed to make concentrating solar technology operate more efficiently and economically, according to TEP. The proprietary thermal storage system will be capable of storing the sun's heat for several hours, allowing the CSP plant to generate power into the early evening or when the sun is covered by clouds.

‘The pioneering storage technology that will be built into this new CSP plant has the potential to make solar energy even more valuable for TEP and other utilities,’ says Paul Bonavia, chairman, president and CEO of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy. ‘If it proves successful, it could lead to the development of similar systems on a much larger scale.’

SOURCE: Tucson Electric Power

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