Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) of Sierra Vista, Arizona and California-based SunPower last week announced a 20-year purchase agreement to build a 20-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant in Cochise County, Arizona.
Expected to create approximately 125 jobs during construction and be operational by the end of 2016, the plant should generate enough electricity to serve approximately 4,500 homes, based on estimates by the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The project will utilize SunPower’s Oasis Power Plant system, a fully integrated, modular solar power block solution for utility-scale solar projects designed to optimize land use and engineered for effective installation.
"This SunPower solar power plant supports SSVEC's commitment to community growth and quality of life, and brings us to about 95 percent of the renewable energy goal established by the Arizona Corporation Commission that SSVEC is to meet by 2025," SSVEC Chief Executive Officer Creden Huber said.
Following completion, SunPower will likely offer the project for sale to a joint venture formed by SunPower and First Solar, with an option for SSVEC to purchase the facility in the future.
"Today, power generated from solar power plants is cost-competitive with power from traditional, fossil fuel burning plants," Jorg Heinemann, SunPower executive vice president for global power plants and EPC, said. "We commend SSVEC for its leadership in including solar in its energy mix, enabling their customers to take advantage of Arizona's abundant solar resource."
SSVEC is a nonprofit, member-owned distribution cooperative providing electricity to more than 51,000 services across 4,100 miles of energized line. Its territory covers parts of Cochise, Graham, Pima and Santa Cruz counties, and includes the communities of Sierra Vista, Huachuca City, Patagonia, Elfrida, Benson, St. David, Bowie, San Simon, Willcox, Sonoita and Pearce-Sunsites.