TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tucson Electric Power (TEP) ranks among the nation’s top 10 utilities in expanding its solar energy portfolio, according to a report released this week by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).
TEP was ranked eighth in new solar capacity for adding 73 megawatts (MW) in 2014. SEPA also ranked TEP in 10th place for per-capita additions to its solar energy portfolio with 178 watts per customer.
“TEP has demonstrated a strong, consistent commitment to the development of solar energy in southern Arizona,” said David G. Hutchens, TEP’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We’re continuing our solar energy expansion this year with innovative new programs and projects that will provide clean, reliable energy and other benefits to our customers.”
The figures from SEPA’s 2014 rankings reflect community-scale systems owned by TEP and its partners as well as smaller systems installed last year at local homes and businesses. New TEP systems include an 18 MW solar array at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Ariz., a 35 MW solar array in Green Valley built on mining property and the 5 MW solar steam boost project installed last year at the H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station in Tucson.
TEP has approximately 330 MW of total renewable generating capacity, enough to meet the annual electric needs of about 70,000 homes.
TEP will add to that capacity this year through its new Residential Solar Program, which will be launched this summer. The program will give customers the opportunity to go solar with no upfront installation or maintenance costs. Participants will receive electric service at a flat monthly rate that will remain fixed for up to 25 years under guidelines approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).
TEP also plans to develop a utility-scale energy storage system by the end of 2016 to facilitate the integration of solar energy into its local electric system.
Pacific Gas and Electric in California took first place in SEPA’s rankings for additional capacity with 1,504 MW, while the Pickwick Electric Cooperative in Tennessee topped SEPA’s per-capita rankings with 1,679 watts per customer. A full copy of SEPA’s 2014 Top 10 Solar Electric Utilities report and other information about the survey is posted online at sepatop10.org.
Solar power plays an important part in TEP’s increasingly diverse generating portfolio. The company plans to reduce its overall coal generation capacity by more than 30 percent over the next five years by increasing use of renewable power, energy efficiency and natural-gas generation. TEP’s solar resources also help to satisfy the requirements of Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard, which calls on utilities to increase their use of renewable power each year until it accounts for 15 percent of their energy in 2025.
TEP provides safe, reliable electric service to more than 414,000 customers in southern Arizona. For more information, visit tep.com. TEP and its parent company UNS Energy are subsidiaries of Fortis, which owns utilities that serve more than 3 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean. To learn more, visit fortisinc.com.