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Tucson Electric Power Plans 6-Megawatt SunPower C7 Tracker System

published: 2012-09-12 15:04

Reinforcing its commitment to promote the use of renewable energy, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has modified an existing agreement with SunPower Corp.(NASDAQ: SPWR) to incorporate six megawatts of its new C7 Tracker technology into a planned facility that will also include two megawatts of SunPower's T5 Solar Roof Tile technology. The SunPower C7 Tracker is a solar photovoltaic tracking system that concentrates the sun's power seven times and, when at scale, can deliver the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for utility-scale solar power plants.

"TEP is committed to maintaining its leadership role in the development of solar energy in Southern Arizona by utilizing new and innovative technologies," said Carmine Tilghman, director of renewable resources and programs at TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy Corp. (NYSE: UNS). "SunPower's C7 Tracker provides us a great opportunity to expand our solar development while providing our customers with cost-effective renewable energy.

"This project, which will be owned by TEP, will assist the company in reaching its goal of incorporating more than 200 megawatts of solar energy into its system by the end of 2013," Tilghman added.

"TEP is leading the way by utilizing proven solar technology with the best economics over the long term," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. "The SunPower C7 Tracker leverages two decades of experience in reliable tracking systems to deliver bankable technology, guaranteed performance and the greatest return on investment for utility customers."

The C7 Tracker combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto 22.8 percent efficient SunPower Maxeon™ solar cells, which are the world's most efficient commercially available solar cells.  Using mirrors to reduce the number of solar cells required to generate electricity lowers the LCOE by up to 20 percent compared to competing technologies. For example, a 400-megawatt C7 Tracker power plant requires less than 70 megawatts of SunPower solar cells. 

The C7 Tracker includes modular solar cell receivers allowing for future performance upgrades. Additionally, the SunPower advanced Tracker Monitoring and Control System (TMAC™) provides wireless control of the power plant for increased operating efficiency and reduced maintenance cost. SunPower can rapidly deploy regional manufacturing of the system, supporting local job creation.

The C7 Tracker is ideal for regions with high solar irradiance through direct sunlight, including the U.S. Southwest and areas of the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The C7 Tracker installation for TEP will begin construction in January 2013, and is expected to be operational by December 2013.

This agreement modifies a previous agreement under which SunPower was contracted to deliver 11 megawatts of rooftop solar technology to TEP.

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