A number of collaborations between public and private sector entities have resulted in the use of 317 acres of land to construct photovoltaic arrays. Amonix, a leader in CPV (concentrated solar energy photovoltaic) solar power systems, established a utility scale solar energy 2-megawatt AC Nameplate power plant within 12 acres of the designated “Solar Zone” of the UA TechPark. The “Solar Zone” is a 222-acre cutting edge environment that encourages development, testing, and demonstration of the next generation of renewable energy products and technologies. Other solar companies establishing a presence at the “Solar Zone” include Bell Independent Power Company, SOLON, CTC Electric, Emcore Corp, and Foresight/Solar Point.
In addition, FRV (Fotowatio Renewable Ventures), an international solar firm with headquarters in Spain, collaborated with Pima County and Tucson Electric Power to gain approval to construct the region’s largest solar power generating project to date on 305 acres of former farmland north of Tucson.
Demonstrating the region’s manufacturing strength in this industry sector, Global Solar, a Tucson-based solar energy company, made Photon International Magazine’s “Top 10” list for production of thin-film photovoltaic cells in 2010. SOLON, a Berlin-based solar company, has established its US headquarters in Tucson and specializes in the design and installation of solar systems.
The region’s ongoing commitment to solar power generation has broad support from the Southern Arizona business community and includes a commitment to research and development as well as construction. This industry has an estimated $400 million economic impact on the region.