Solon Corp. flips on the switch at big solar plant near Kingman

2013-01-22T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:04:51Z Solon Corp. flips on the switch at big solar plant near KingmanDavid Wichner Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tucson-based solar-energy developer Solon Corp. has turned on one of its biggest solar plants in the state, a 10-megawatt (DC) photovoltaic plant near Kingman.

Energy produced by the Black Mountain solar plant, owned by Duke Energy Renewables, is being purchased by UniSource Energy Services (UES) under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

UES, a subsidiary of Tucson-based UNS Energy Corp., provides power to about 91,000 customers in Mohave and Santa Cruz Counties. The Black Mountain solar farm - the largest serving UES - will provide enough energy to meet the annual needs of about 1,900 homes, Solon said.

Duke Energy Renewables, part of North Carolina energy giant Duke Energy, purchased the Black Mountain photovoltaic project from Solon in May. Solon designed and constructed the solar array and will continue to handle operations, monitoring and maintenance of the system.

Besides Black Mountain, Duke has acquired one local solar farm and three others in Arizona as part of an ongoing westward expansion.

In December, Duke purchased the 6MW Gato Montes solar project at the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park Solar Zone from its original developer, AstroSol Inc. That project, which went into service last month, provides power to Tucson Electric Power Co. under a 20-year agreement.

The other Duke solar plants are the 15MW Bagdad Solar Project in Yavapai County and a 5MW solar plant near Ajo, both contracted to supply Arizona Public Service Co.; and a 1.5MW photovoltaic plant in Prescott Valley.

Solon has developed one plant in Arizona larger than Black Mountain: the 21MW Cotton Center plant, built for APS near Gila Bend.

proof of concept awards

Nineteen University of Arizona researchers have been picked to receive a total of $715,000 in new "proof-of-concept" awards by Tech Launch Arizona, the UA's new technology commercialization agency.

The awards, ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 each, are intended to help nudge technology toward the marketplace by funding things like generating data to support commercial applications and work on prototype development and testing, the UA said in announcing the awards.

The names of the recipients weren't immediately made available.

The UA said the proof-of-concept award recipients represent a wide spectrum of research in engineering, optical sciences, biotechnology, medicine and other disciplines, spanning 33 UA departments.

"This money is generally very difficult to access, but often means the difference between a promising technology with important social benefits moving closer to commercialization - or being shelved," Tech Launch Executive Director David Allen said.

A total of 46 proposals were received, including several representing collaborations with faculty from multiple colleges. Final awards were made based on recommendations by external review panels, the UA said.

Funding for POC awards comes from the Arizona Technology Research Initiative Fund (TRIF), which comes from state sales taxes, including a contribution from the Water, Environmental and Energy Solutions initiative.

Aerospace event set

The Arizona Technology Council is hosting the second annual Aerospace, Aviation, Defense and Manufacturing Requirements Day on March 14 in Scottsdale.

The conference - part of a wider effort to boost aerospace economic development - brings defense contractors and small subcontractors together to help match their needs and local capabilities.

The tech council is collaborating on the conference with the Arizona Commerce Authority, which recently won nearly $2 million in federal grants to boost the state's aerospace and defense sector.

For more information or to register, see tinyurl.com/a4qk4wj

Tucson tech

Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at dwichner@azstarnet.com or 573-4181.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.