Duke Energy Renewables Acquires Solar Installation in Arizona
Businessweek last week reported that Duke Energy Renewables (NYSE: DUK), a solar and wind energy project developer headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., recently acquired an Arizona utility-scale solar energy project from Tucson-based SOLON Corp., owned by Emirates-based Microsol. The Black Mountain Solar Project is a 10-megawatt (MW) solar panel installation located in Mohave County. It is expected to begin commercial operation in October 2012. No financial details about the transaction have been released at this time.
Once up and running, the latest solar park will help expand the renewable energy sector in Arizona, driving the local economy towards a more sustainable future. On the one hand, as Duke Energy Renewables President Greg Wolf put it, the solar project will help “a premier Arizona energy service provider deliver affordable, zero-emission renewable power to its customers.” On the other hand, it will create more than 250 local green jobs during its construction process alone.
Arizona offers excellent climate conditions for investments in solar energy generation. In fact, in the words of former Arizona Governor and current U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, solar power in Arizona has the potential for making the state “the Persian Gulf of solar energy.” According to latest figures from the Solar Energy Industries Association, last year alone Arizona installed 273 MW of photovoltaics, bringing the state total capacity to over 383 MW of solar power.
With the purchase of the Black Mountain Solar Project, Duke Energy Renewables adds to its vast portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. Over the last five years, the company has invested an estimated $2.5 billion to grow its commercial solar and wind assets. Duke Energy Renewables has full ownership of 12 commercial solar farms and 10 wind farms across eight states. The combined electricity-generating capacity of these facilities is estimated at more than 1,000 MW.
In Arizona alone, Duke Energy Renewables operates two more solar facilities – the Ajo Solar Farm in Pima County and the Bagdad Solar Farm in Yavapai County. Ajo Solar has a capacity of four MW, while Bagdad Solar Farm is a 15-MW installation.!m(/uploads/story/34/thumbs/arizona_cactus_inline.png)
In a press release announcing the Black Mountain acquisition, Wolf said that the Mohave County solar park consists of more than 40,000 solar panels and is able to produce enough electricity to power about 2,000 homes. SOLON Corp. designed the solar array and will continue leading its construction process. Upon completion, the corporation is expected to take charge of operating, monitoring and maintaining the installation.
Dan Alcombright, president and CEO of SOLON Corporation, said: “With more than 60 MW of utility-scale photovoltaic systems installed in Arizona, SOLON is committed to delivering proven solutions to utilities and creating renewable energy jobs for the economy.”
The Black Mountain photovoltaic project has already signed a 20-year agreement to sell green electricity to UniSource Energy Services, a subsidiary of the Tucson-based UniSource Energy Corporation, which services more than 237,000 customers in Arizona.
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