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TEP SunShare Program Funds Seven New Solar Arrays For Tucson

File photo: Solar Array.
by Staff Writers
Tucson AZ (SPX) Jun 05, 2009
The City of Tucson is taking advantage of SunShare subsidies from Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to help fund seven new photovoltaic arrays that will add more than 1 megawatt (MW) to the city's solar generating capacity.

TEP will provide an estimated $4.7 million in SunShare incentives to the city over the next 20 years, covering about 60 percent of the cost of the arrays.

The systems, which are being built this year at recreation centers, office buildings and other city facilities, are expected to generate an amount of power equivalent to the annual electric usage of about 150 Tucson homes.

"These new solar energy systems represent a sound investment in our community's energy future," said Paul Bonavia, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE: UNS - News).

"Thanks to TEP's SunShare program, the city can scale back its carbon footprint while reducing its energy expenses, allowing it to devote more resources to other pressing needs," Bonavia said.

The first of the city's new photovoltaic (PV) systems will be unveiled at the city's El Pueblo Activity Center, 101 W. Irvington Road. The 97.65-kilowatt (kW) array is expected to generate enough power to meet about 20 percent of the facility's energy needs.

TEP's SunShare program provides incentives that help customers reduce the cost of installing PV systems. The program is funded by a surcharge on customers' bills, and the energy generated by subsidized systems helps TEP achieve renewable energy goals set by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Through the end of 2008, 559 customers participating in the SunShare program had installed a total of 1.6 MW of solar generating capacity.

For residential customers, SunShare offers up-front incentives of up to $3,000 per kW of system capacity. Combined with state and federal tax credits, SunShare incentives can reduce the cost of a typical 3-kW residential solar system by nearly $15,000.

TEP also offers production-based incentives typically used for larger arrays such as those being installed by the City of Tucson.

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