April 5, 2013 - Salt River Project (SRP) and SunPower Corp. today are dedicating a one-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant at Arizona State University's (ASU) Polytechnic campus in Mesa, Ariz. The facility is the first commercial deployment of the SunPower® C7 Tracker (C7 Tracker) technology, a solar photovoltaic tracking system that concentrates the sun's power seven times to achieve one of the lowest levelized costs of electricity (LCOE) for solar power plants available today.
SunPower engineered and constructed the plant on the southeast corner of the ASU Polytechnic campus, and is currently operating and maintaining it. The plant is expected to produce an amount of energy equal to that needed to serve about 225 SRP customers' homes and requires minimal water use. According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the system will offset the production of 1,277 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of removing 241 passenger vehicles from Arizona roads each year.
Under a purchase-power agreement, SRP is buying the entire output of the solar plant from SunPower. ASU is purchasing the power from SRP for use at its Polytechnic campus under a separate agreement.
"At SRP we continue to look for new and innovative ways to diversify our portfolio with sustainable sources of energy that best serve our customers in a cost-effective way," said John Sullivan, SRP's chief resource executive. "SunPower's C7 Tracker system is a promising technology that we expect to provide these benefits."
The C7 Tracker combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto high performing SunPower Maxeon® solar cells, with an efficiency of 22.8 percent. The 1-megawatt C7 Tracker power plant at ASU will require only 172 kilowatts of SunPower solar cells when corresponding to a geometric concentration ratio of seven to one and a power-based ratio of six to one.
"The SunPower C7 Tracker leverages SunPower's depth of experience developing reliable tracking systems and delivers bankable technology with guaranteed performance," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. "We applaud our partners on this project in selecting this advanced technology platform that will deliver cost-effective renewable energy in Arizona for the long-term."
"This dynamic project with SunPower enables ASU to move closer to our 2015, 25-megawatt solar energy-generating goal, embrace innovative technologies, and facilitate possible education opportunities for our students," said David Brixen, ASU's associate vice president of Facilities Development and Management.
The ASU solar plant will be the third commercial-scale solar facility in the Valley of the Sun to provide energy for SRP, including the 20-megawatt Copper Crossing facility in Pinal County that was also designed and built by SunPower. More than 100 schools in 11 Valley school districts are tapping into the power of the sun from that plant to offset a portion of their electric needs through SRP's Community Solar program.