SunPower to build 20 MW PV plant for Arizona electric cooperative

The Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) in has signed a 20-year power purchase deal with SunPower to build a 20 MW-AC solar PV plant in Cochise County, Arizona.

Expected to be operational by the end of 2016, the plant is anticipated to generate enough electricity to serve the needs of approximately 4,500 homes.

"This SunPower solar power plant supports SSVEC’s commitment to community growth and quality of life, and brings us to about 95% of the renewable energy goal established by the Arizona Corporation Commission that SSVEC is to meet by 2025," said Creden Huber, chief executive officer the southeastern Arizona-based electric cooperative.

"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."

Jorg Heinemann, SunPower executive VP of global power plants and EPC, added that power generated from solar power plants today was cost-competitive with power from traditional, fossil fuel burning plants. "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 designed to optimize land use and is engineered for rapid, cost-effective installation, according to the company. Construction is set to begin early next year.

Once operational, SunPower will likely seek to sell the project to 8point3 Energy Partners LP, its yieldco joint venture First Solar. SSVEC has the option to purchase the facility at a later date.