Lots of Rooftop Solar Comes To Tucson

Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES), requires Arizona utilities to incrementally increase their use of renewable power each year until it reaches 15 percent of their energy by 2025. Under this policy, Tuscon Electric Power (TEP) needs to source 3% of their power from renewable sources for 2011. Their plan? To install solar panels on “underutilized rooftops” throughout the city.

TEP has decided to procure solar gear from California based SunPower. The contract, according to SunPower, involves the purchase of 11 megawatts worth of solar technology that TEP intends to place on the roofs of schools and other public buildings throughout its region.

The program, which TEP calls the “Bright Roofs” project, will spread installations out over the course of three years and uses SunPower’s “T5 Solar Roof Tile” technology. The T5 bundles together a high-efficiency solar panel, frame and mounting system into one pre-fabricated unit. The solar tiles are oriented at a five degree angle which the manufacturer claims doubles the energy generated per square meter when compared to flat-mount systems.

TEP’s plans involve connecting each of the systems directly to neighborhood power circuits, feeding the energy into the grid. Once the three year project is complete, SunPower suggests that the total solar power generated should be enough to feed 1,800 Tuscon homes.

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