SRP will build major solar facility in southern Peoria

Tessera Solar and SRP unveiled plans to partner on a 1.5-megawatt (MW) solar project, Maricopa Solar LLC, in Peoria, Arizona, located in the West Valley of the greater Phoenix area. Maricopa Solar will be the first commercial-scale solar facility built using the innovative SunCatcher™ concentrating solar-thermal technology, manufactured by Scottsdale, Arizona-based Stirling Energy Systems (SES). The project will consist of 60 SunCatcher dishes and serve as a milestone for the nationwide deployment of the larger commercial projects previously announced in California and Texas totaling more than 1,600 MW.

The project will be located next to the Agua Fria Generating Station, a power plant owned and operated by SRP in Peoria. The solar plant, which is expected to break ground in September, will employ 40 to 50 construction workers. It is expected to be completed in January 2010 and will be operated by Tessera Solar under a 10-year agreement.

"Partnering with Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems on this project will allow SRP to have first hand experience with this low-water-use solar dish technology," said SRP Associate General Manager Richard Hayslip. "It’s our belief that supporting emerging renewable-energy technologies will help further the advancement of solar energy while creating green jobs, economic development opportunities and clean energy for SRP and our customers."

"This commercial-scale reference plant, with our partner SRP, is an essential step for the future development, construction and operation of our large-scale power plants breaking ground in 2010," said Tessera Solar North America CEO Bob Lukefahr. "We’re pleased that SRP, a respected utility committed to sustainable energy, chose this technology to expand its renewable-energy offerings to its customers."

Tessera Solar will lease the land from SRP, which will purchase the solar energy generated at the site. The plant will help fulfill SRP’s sustainable portfolio goal set by its publicly elected Board of Directors, which calls for the utility to meet 15 percent of its retail energy needs with sustainable energy by 2025.

In addition, the 1.5 MW plant will allow SRP to have first-hand experience with this technology, its performance and integration into the grid.

The SunCatcher system uses precision mirrors attached to a parabolic dish to concentrate the sun’s energy onto a high-efficiency Stirling Engine. Each dish can generate up to 25,000 watts of power. The SunCatcher requires no water for heating or cooling and a minimal amount of water is required to wash the mirrors and for on-site personnel.

Designed, engineered and proven in the United States, the SunCatcher utilizes automotive supply chain manufacturing techniques for high-volume production through an assembly line process. More than 90 percent of the SunCatcher components will be manufactured in North America, creating thousands of new jobs.

"We’re pleased to partner with SRP and the City of Peoria to deploy our SunCatcher technology here in our home state of Arizona in advance of our utility-scale deployments in 2010," said Stirling Energy Systems CEO Steve Cowman. "We considered several sites across the Southwest, but our future growth plans and the plant’s proximity to our headquarters will allow us the opportunity to showcase the SunCatcher to our stakeholders."

"Steve Cowman’s leadership at Stirling Energy Systems has made an immediate impact, not only to the company, but also in Arizona," said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). "His leadership at GPEC is propelling the region to the forefront of renewable and solar technology." Broome acknowledges the partnership among SRP, SES, Tessera Solar and Peoria as a model others will follow. "General Manager Dick Silverman and the board of directors at SRP should be commended for their forward-thinking."

The City of Peoria is committed to responsibly building a vibrant local economy that connects smart growth and quality of life to the city’s diverse natural assets.

"It’s great to welcome a project that showcases both sustainable values and the economic benefits of public-private partnerships," said Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett. "The City of Peoria looks forward to building a lasting relationship with both Stirling Energy Systems and Tessera Solar."

About SRP

Salt River Project is the third-largest public power utility in the country and serves more than 930,000 electric customers through a variety of resources including solar, wind power, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectricity. In 2004, SRP’s Board of Directors voted to require that 15 percent of the energy generated comes from sustainable resources by 2025. Today, SRP’s sustainable portfolio is 6.5 percent of the total power provided to our customers.

About Stirling Energy Systems (SES Inc.)

SES LogoStirling Energy Systems (SES) is the global supplier of the SunCatcher solar dish engine system, the latest innovation in modular Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (CSP), and next generation of grid-quality, solar-electric power generation. The SES SunCatcher combines a mirrored concentrator dish with a high-efficiency Stirling engine to track, collect and convert the sun’s thermal energy to grid-quality electricity. The SunCatcher technology has significant advantages over other CSP technology including zero water use for power production, minimal impact to the environment, the highest electric efficiency and cost competitiveness. Founded in 1996, the company maintains corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, and engineering and test site operations at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. NTR owns a controlling stake in SES Inc.

Stirling Energy Systems, Inc. (SES) is a pioneer in the design and development of Concentrated Solar Power solutions. Its mission is to be a global leader in utility-scale solar electricity markets. Our in-depth technical know-how and expansive research and development, engineering capabilities enable us to provide high-efficiency energy solutions, and deliver unparalleled global support.

SES is the exclusive global manufacturer of the SunCatcher™ solar dish Stirling engine system, the latest innovation in modular Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (CSP), and next generation of grid-quality, solar-electric power generation technology, manufactured at world scale for new energy infrastructures.

SES’s sister company Tessera Solar is the exclusive developer and operator of the SunCatcher™ worldwide. The SunCatcher™ technology makes it possible for large power facilities to provide clean, reliable, cost-effective and truly sustainable solar-electric power to communities worldwide, address renewable energy-portfolio targets, and tackle global climate change by actively reducing our planet’s carbon emissions.

About Tessera Solar

Tessera Solar LogoTessera Solar is the exclusive developer/owner/operator of utility-scale solar power facilities using the SunCatcher solar power system, manufactured by our sister company Stirling Energy Systems (SES Inc.), headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. Tessera Solar North America is headquartered in Houston, Texas, with offices in Scottsdale, Arizona and Berkeley, California. Tessera Solar International is headquartered in London, England. NTR plc is the parent company of Tessera Solar and SES.

About NTR plc

NTR plc is a leading international developer and operator in renewable energy and sustainable waste management. Founded in 1978, NTR has evolved from being a developer and operator of infrastructure in Ireland to an international developer and operator of renewable energy (wind, solar and bio-ethanol), and sustainable waste management businesses in the USA, UK and Ireland. The company employs over 4,100 people and has a market capitalization approximating £497.7m.