SunPower to build 20-MW solar project for Arizona electric cooperative

Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) and SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR) announced Sept. 17 that the cooperative has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SunPower to build a 20-MW (ac) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Cochise County, Ariz.

The plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2016. The project is expected to create approximately 125 jobs during construction, which is anticipated to commence in early 2016.

“This SunPower solar power plant supports SSVEC’s commitment to community growth and quality of life, and brings us to about 95 percent of the renewable energy goal established by the Arizona Corporation Commission that SSVEC is to meet by 2025,” said SSVEC Chief Executive Officer Creden Huber. “SunPower brings a complete solution to solar power plant development and operation that is proven to maximize energy delivery over the long term, optimizing the cost-effective, emission-free solar power that SSVEC provides its customers.” 

“Today, power generated from solar power plants is cost-competitive with power from traditional, fossil fuel burning plants,” said Jorg Heinemann, SunPower executive vice president, global power plants and EPC. “We commend SSVEC for its leadership in including solar in its energy mix, enabling their customers to take advantage of Arizona’s abundant solar resource.”

SunPower plans to design and build a SunPower Oasis Power Plant system at the site. Oasis is SunPower’s fully integrated, modular solar power block solution for utility-scale solar projects that is designed to optimize land use and is engineered for rapid, cost-effective installation.

SunPower will likely offer this project for sale to 8point3 Energy Partners LP (Nasdaq: CAFD), the YieldCo joint venture formed by SunPower and First Solar, once it is operational. SSVEC has the option to purchase the facility at a later date.

Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative is a non-profit, member-owned distribution cooperative providing electricity to more than 51,000 services over some 4,100 miles of energized line. Located in southeastern Arizona, the cooperative’s service territory covers parts of Cochise, Graham, Pima and Santa Cruz counties.

SunPower designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.