Gila Bend Leads the Way in Utility Scale Solar Development

3rd Solar Plant for Gila Bend – First Solar/APS

2nd Solar Plant for Gila Bend – Solon/APS

1st Solar Plant for Gila Bend – Solana/APS

3rd Solar Power Plant for Gila Bend AnnouncedFirstSolarLogo

17-Megawatt AZ Sun Project Will Come Online Later This Year
PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For the first time, Arizona’s largest electric utility — Arizona Public Service Company — and Arizona’s largest solar manufacturer — First Solar — are working together to harness the power of the sun. APS has contracted with First Solar to design and build the Paloma Solar Plant, a 17-megawatt photovoltaic facility in Gila Bend, Ariz. APS will own the plant, which is expected to come online in September 2011.

Paloma is one of five solar plants currently under development in APS’s AZ Sun program. Through the program, APS will finance and own 100 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power plants in Arizona. Upon completion, the program is expected to have at least six plants, which will be designed and constructed by third-party solar developers, contractors and equipment providers. With Paloma, the AZ Sun Program now has commitments for 83 megawatts of solar capacity. The entire program is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

“Through the AZ Sun program, we have been able to move quickly to begin building new solar power plants to complement our other generating resources. We expect these plants to provide clean, reliable energy to our customers for at least the next 30 years,” said Don Robinson, APS president and chief operating officer.

With Paloma, APS’s total renewable energy portfolio is 875 megawatts, counting projects online and in development. Of that total, 288 megawatts are in service today, providing enough electricity to meet the needs of 72,000 Arizona homes. Complete details on current and future APS renewable projects are available online at

The Paloma plant will be built on the site of a former alfalfa farm. The facility will use 300,000 thin-film photovoltaic panels mounted on fixed-tilt steel frames. It is the first time thin-film panels will be used for an APS solar plant.

“First Solar is pleased to be working with APS, a leader in green energy,” said Jim Lamon, First Solar senior vice president of engineering, procurement and construction. “Our advanced thin-film technology and our systems engineering and construction expertise will help APS turn Arizona’s vast solar resource into clean, renewable energy.”

Paloma and Cotton Center, APS’s other AZ Sun photovoltaic project in Gila Bend, will be located less than a mile apart.

“In collaboration with APS, the Town of Gila Bend is continuing to demonstrate its national leadership in promoting, locating and fast-tracking utility scale solar,” said Ron Henry, mayor of Gila Bend. “The Paloma plant represents another major solar energy investment APS has made in our community. We appreciate this continuing partnership, and we are proud to foster the development of solar energy.”

Gila Bend is also home to Solana, a concentrating solar plant being built by Abengoa Solar. APS has a contract to purchase all of Solana’s generation beginning in 2013.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).

2nd Solar Power Plant for Gila Bend Announced

APS CONTINUES TO BRING MORE SOLAR TO ARIZONA New 18-Megawatt Plant to be Located in Gila Bend’s New Solar Zone

PHOENIX – Arizona Public Service Company’s drive to develop more solar energy took another step forward today with the announcement of an 18-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant to be located 70 miles southwest of Phoenix in Gila Bend.

The plant will be owned by APS and sited in the town’s new Solar Overlay Zone. The municipality has designated a geographic area as a fast-track permitting district for new solar photovoltaic projects. Permitting in this area will take less than three months, instead ofthe typical one to two years. By locating the new project within the boundaries of the Solar Zone, construction can begin in early 2011 with a completion date in November 2011.

APS has selected SOLON Corporation, a subsidiary of SOLON SE, as the project developer. SOLON Corporation’s North American headquarters, which includes a manufacturing facility, is located in Tucson. “This project enables APS to continue building its renewable energy portfolio and helps us develop Arizona’s vast solar resources,” said APS President and Chief Operating Officer Don Robinson. “Our customers will benefit for years to come from this partnership between APS, SOLON and Gila Bend.”

SolonLogoThe plant will sit on 145 acres currently used for agriculture. The 75,000 solar panels needed to transform sunlight into electricity will be arranged in 1,566 rows connected to 108 single-axis trackers. This design enables the solar panels to follow the sun across the sky, making the plant more efficient than static-mounted panels typically seen on rooftops. On sunny days, the project is expected to produce enough energy to meet the needs of 4,500 residential customers.

$1.45 Billion Loan Guarantee for Abengoa CSP Plantparabolicarray

(Source:; July 3, 2010)

President Obama gives the go-ahead for one of the world’s largest concentratingsolar power projects.

Abengoa’s 280 megawatt Solana Concentrated Solar Power Project (CSP) is now backed by the $1.45 billion loan guarantee in sunny Gila Bend, Arizona.

Abengoa Solar’s Arizona Vice President Kate Maracas stated in the press release that “the building of Solana will also create between 1,600 to 1,700 new construction jobs, and operation of the plant will add another 85 permanent jobs. These construction and operating jobs will create a few thousand additional indirect jobs. Taken together,98 percent of the jobs created by Solana will be American jobs — primarily from Arizona, and a smaller portion from neighboring states.”

Abengoa Solar signed a power purchase agreement with APS, the state’s largest electric utility, to sell the energy produced by Solana for a period of 30 years.
Abengoa Solar has made it a priority to utilize U.S.-made components wherever possible for the Solana plant. More than 75 percent of the equipment and supplies required to build Solana will be manufactured in the U.S.  This includes steam generators, heat exchangers, power equipment, glass, steel, concrete and other construction materials.

Greentech Media’s CSP analyst, Brett Prior, commented: “The Solana project is estimated to cost almost $1 billion, and this loan guarantee will ensure that the project moves forward.

Click Here to View “Abengoa – President’s Recovery Act Announcement 03Jul10”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s