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First-Ever Solar Project to be Built on Arizona State Trust Lands

April 4, 2012 - James Williams -

The Arizona Public Service (APS) and the State Land Department (SLD) have announced a new partnership to deliver 35MW Foothills Solar Plant on 400 acres of Arizona State Trust Lands in Yuma County. This will be the first solar project to be developed on state-owned trust lands and outlines Arizona governor Janice Brewer’s plans to make Arizona a global force in the renewable energy sector.

APS has acquired the land on a 35-year lease at an estimated cost of US$10 million, the proceeds of which will be invested back into the Arizona’s public education system. The projects have been designed and developed by a third party but will be financed and owned by APS.

Construction on the Yuma Foothills project will commence in August 2012 and be delivered in two phases – the first 17MW will be installed and ready for electricity production by March 2013, the remaining 18MW will be ready for commercial operation by December of the same year.

Governor Brewer announced, “The project will bring quality solar jobs to Arizona and dollars to support our state’s public schools – all while utilizing Arizona’s most abundant resource, the sun, to generate clean and renewable energy. It’s the first of many solar projects that will benefit the entire state and cement our status as the ‘Solar King.’”

The announcement comes after months of planning and surveying work by the SLD to identify ideal sites for PV projects, from which the APS selected the Yuma Foothills as the most viable project site. The resulting 35MW plant will power an estimated 8,750 local homes as well as creating 100 much needed construction jobs.

Don Brandt, APS chairman and CEO, commented, “Through our growing investment in solar energy, we are helping the environment, creating jobs and protecting our customers against potentially volatile fuel prices. It is a commitment we share with Governor Brewer, the Arizona Corporation Commission and other key decision makers in Arizona. Together, we have taken another important step toward creating a sustainable energy future for Arizona.”

Under the Arizona Sun Program, which provides savings and tax breaks to renewable energy providers; APS is allowed to develop up to 200MW of solar projects across the state.