11-19-13 7:30 AM EST | Email Article

Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc., today announced it has signed a contract with Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to build, own and operate a one-megawatt (MW) Cogenra Solar array that will provide renewable energy to the utility in Tucson, Arizona. The installation, awarded through a previous TEP RFP process, will consist of ground-mounted Cogenra T14 systems and will be constructed at Solar Zone within the University of Arizona’s Science & Technology Park (UA Tech Park), also located in Tucson.

The facility will be owned and operated by Washington Gas Energy Systems under a 20-year power purchase agreement with TEP. Cogenra Solar developed and designed the project and will manage procurement and construction. The project is expected to be completed in April 2014.

Cogenra’s T14 system combines high-efficiency silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells and a single-axis horizontal tracker with proven, proprietary low-concentration optics. Flat-glass mirrors concentrate the sunlight about 14 times, reducing the number of PV cells required to generate electricity. This lowers the levelized cost of electricity by up to 20 percent compared to conventional PV systems. This will be the largest Cogenra Solar project constructed to date.

“This project adds diversity to our portfolio of solar projects; Cogenra’s proven and efficient active cooling design achieves higher efficiency and lower cost,” said Sanjiv Mahan, vice president of business development for Washington Gas Energy Systems. “We will continue investing in innovative solutions to assist our clients in achieving their long-term economic and environmental goals through clean and reliable energy assets.”

The installation is expected to produce 1,986 megawatt-hours of solar energy per year — enough to serve the electrical needs of about 180 homes in Tucson. The output will help TEP to meet or exceed the mandates of Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard, which requires electric utilities to increase their use of renewable energy each year until it accounts for 15 percent of their power in 2025. Upon completion, the Cogenra Solar array will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to recycling more than 704 tons of waste, instead of sending it to a landfill, or taking approximately 392 passenger cars off the road for one year.

"We applaud Washington Gas Energy Systems and the completion of its Cogenra Solar array. The Solar Zone continues to be a unique environment that allows us to support the development of cost-effective renewable energy on behalf of our customers," said Carmine Tilghman, TEP’s director of wholesale & renewable energy.

The UA Tech Park’s Solar Zone is one of the largest solar testing, evaluation and demonstration sites in the world. Phase-1 of the Solar Zone occupies 165 acres of land. With the completion of the Washington Gas Energy Systems project, the Solar Zone will generate 23 megawatts of power. The Solar Zone is a unique partnership between the University of Arizona and TEP. This is the second project using cutting-edge technology developed by Cogenra to be deployed at the Solar Zone. Earlier this year, Cogenra installed a PV-thermal cogeneration system on Building 9070. The system will be tested and evaluated by the University of Arizona faculty and students from the College of Science.

“Cogenra’s latest generation product T14 offers the lowest installed cost solar system out there and we are very excited to be working with TEP and the Solar Zone on our first MW-scale project,” said Gilad Almogy, chief executive officer and founder of Cogenra Solar. “TEP is leading the way by enabling innovative solar technology like ours to bring to the market solar power at a lower cost than any other renewable, coal or natural gas based plant. The third-party financing and ownership model provided by Washington Gas Energy Systems enables rapid, wide-scale deployment of the Cogenra T14 solar system in the U.S. We are looking forward to working with Washington Gas Energy Systems on future projects.”

About Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc.:

Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc., an affiliate of Washington Gas Light Company and a subsidiary of WGL Holdings (NYSE: WGL), design-builds and owns custom energy solutions that deliver financial, operational and carbon reduction results for non-residential customers across the United States. Washington Gas Energy Systems is focused on federal energy efficiency projects and commercial distributed generation assets including solar. Washington Gas Energy Systems currently holds over 56 MW of commercial-scale solar projects throughout the U.S. in 11 different states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Mexico. For more information on how Washington Gas Energy Systems can make solar power a reality for you, contact Nate Greenberg, 703-333-3929, or email nategreenberg@wges.com. For further information about Washington Gas Energy Systems, please visit www.wgesystems.com.

About Tucson Electric Power:

Tucson Electric Power provides safe, reliable electric service to approximately 408,000 customers in southern Arizona. TEP was recognized this year as a leader in the development of solar energy when it was included in two Solar Electric Power Association’s (SEPA’s) “top 10” lists including of utilities that have added the most new solar power to their renewable energy portfolio, and the most solar on a watts-per-customer basis in 2012. In September, Valley Forward — an association of Arizona business, civic, academic and nonprofit organizations — presented Tucson Electric Power (TEP) with an environmental stewardship award for the company’s leadership and continued investment in solar energy at the UA Tech Park. TEP currently has more than 150 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, enough to meet the annual electric needs of more than 30,000 Tucson homes. To learn more, visit tep.com. For more information about TEP’s parent company, UNS Energy (NYSE: UNS), visit uns.com.

About Cogenra Solar:

Cogenra Solar designs, manufactures and delivers lowest cost and high reliability solar systems for utility-scale by combining high-efficiency photovoltaic cells and a single-axis horizontal tracker with proprietary low-concentration optics and efficient, active cooling of the photovoltaic cells. The proprietary technology utilized in Cogenra’s T14 system is field proven in over thirty-five installations worldwide. The product includes optional waste heat recovery for solar cogeneration applications such as district heating and cooling plants, water treatment and desalination plants, or energy storage for on-demand solar power at night. Cogenra is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. For further information about Cogenra Solar, please visit www.cogenra.com.

About UA Tech Park & Solar Zone:

The UA Tech Park advances the University of Arizona’s research mission and its efforts at technology development and technology commercialization. The UA Tech Park contributes $2.4 billion annually to Pima County’s economy. It is one of the region’s largest employment centers hosting approximately 50 businesses and organizations that employ nearly 7,000 people. The UA Tech Park is dedicated to sustainable development and operations. The UA Tech Park has been nationally recognized as one of the premier university research parks in North America. The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park is one of the largest multiple tenant, multiple technology demonstration sites in the United States. At completion, the Solar Zone will accommodate all significant components of the solar energy continuum: generation and storage; manufacturing and assembly; research and development; workforce development; and education and public awareness.

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Morningstar - 2013/11/19 - Washington Gas Energy Systems to Build, Own and Operate Cogenra Solar Project for Tucson Electric Power in Tucson, Arizona
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