Tucson Selected for Solar Energy Plant by Bell Independent Power

Posted By Mike Padgett

Jan. 19, 2010

TUCSON, Ariz. – The UA Tech Park in Tucson will be home to a new 5-megawatt solar plant with a thermal storage system that will be the first of its type in the world.

The new facility will be developed, financed, owned and operated by Bell Independent Power Corp. of Rochester, N.Y. The projected cost of the new project is $32 million. It will begin providing power to Tucson Electric Power customers by May 2011.

Heat from the sun will be captured by 45 acres of parabolic solar mirrors. The plant’s concentrated solar power, or CSP, is projected to produce enough energy to power more than 1,500 typical Tucson homes.

“The innovative storage technology built into this plant should provide us with clean, green renewable power in the late afternoon hours when our customers’ energy usage typically reaches the peak,” Paul Bonavia, chairman, president and chief executive of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corp., said today in a press release.

Bell’s thermal storage system “can make solar power more reliable and cost competitive with fossil fuel energy,” said Joseph Bell Jr., president of Bell Independent Power.

Bell designed the facility by applying its energy expertise from the nuclear power industry and five years of research and development. The proprietary thermal technology is capable of storing heat from the sun for several hours, allowing the new plant to generate power during cloudy days or after sunset.

Construction of the plant will employ 75 workers. When completed, it will have seven fulltime workers.

The CSP project will be an anchor tenant of the UA Tech Park’s new Solar Zone. The UA Tech Park occupies 1,345 acres in southeast Tucson.

News of the new power plant was announced simultaneously today by officials at UA Tech Park; Bell Independent Power; Tucson Electric Power; and Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, or TREO.

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Jan 19th, 2010

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