TEP celebrates opening of Avra Valley Solar Generating Station - Tucson News Now

TEP celebrates opening of Avra Valley Solar Generating Station

PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson Electric Power is celebrating a 25 megawatt solar facility in Avra Valley, which is run by NRG Energy.

Commercial operations started Thursday at the Avra Valley Solar Generating Station, which will generate enough solar energy to power five thousand homes in our area.

TEP says this is a "power plant of the 21st century," requiring no water, and producing no carbon dioxide emissions. There are nearly half a million solar panels at the 320-acre facility, which used to be abandoned agricultural land.

However, it is expensive. TEP customers pay a monthly fee to subsidize investment into renewable energy as it is still more costly than conventional power.

But TEP says it's an investment.

"You're part of a program as a consumer that's going to take 51,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the air. That's like taking almost 11,000 cars off the road every year in terms of improvement to the atmosphere," Paul Bonavia the Chairman and CEO of TEP said.

It also is a state mandate that electric utility companies in Arizona generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2025.

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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