Arizona Adds Big 20 MW Solar Plant

While cloudy states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania incongruously lead on solar energy, sunny Arizona appears to be stepping it up now as well, as SunPower Corporation recently announced an agreement with Iberdrola Renewables to design and build a massive 20-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar power plant in Pinal County, Arizona, known as Copper Crossing.

The solar project will be built out on 144 acres of former private agricultural land in Pinal County, Arizona, and began construction earlier this month. Before it’s all said and done, Copper Crossing is expected to create approximately 200 jobs during construction–welcome news, no doubt, for a state hit hard by the breaking of the housing bubble and accompanying “tool-belt recession.”

SunPower solar plant

image via SunPower

Iberdola Renewables is developing Copper Crossing, and, after construction, will own and operate the solar plant. The Salt River Project, a Phoenix-based public utility, has signed a power purchase agreement for electricity generated at the facility, which will use the SunPower Oasis Power Plant module, a modular solar power block engineered to cost-effectively deploy utility-scale solar projects while optimizing land use. The plant is expected to be fully operational in 2011.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • Billions of dollars are saved by solar power. Solar panels tied to the electrical grid actually help minimize the number of power outages that cost the country a small fortune each year.