Is Your Electric Company Up on the Roof?

I know this may sound weird but my electric company is as green as any electric company can be given the current reality. Everybody wants their electricity and the juice has to come from somewhere.  In addition to supporting the mission and vision of Mrs. Green, Tucson Electric Power Company has more green initiatives going on than one person can track. Even if that person is Mrs. Green.

Not sure if you will take the time out of your busy day to read this post. If you don’t, let me just tell you what I love about TEP’s  Bright Roofs Program.  They are actually going to lease roof top space from public schools.  In Arizona, public schools need all the help they can get and trust me when I say leasing roof top space to our public utility company is not an idea that crossed my mind. Until that silver bullet for alternative energy is discovered, my hats are off to TEP for the bright solutions they are coming up with time after time. 

Here’s the scoop for the long fact finders or the very interested!

TEP to Develop New Grid-Connected Solar Power Systems on Local Rooftops

TUCSON, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is preparing to build new grid-tied solar arrays on the roofs of large public buildings to help serve a growing demand for renewable power.

Through its new TEP Bright Roofs program, the company plans to lease space atop schools and other public facilities for the development of 11 megawatts (MW) of new TEP-owned solar generating capacity over the next three years. TEP Bright Roofs will feed solar energy directly into TEP’s local distribution grid, generating enough clean power to serve more than 1,800 Tucson homes.

“Our new TEP Bright Roofs program offers schools and other public agencies an opportunity to put their unused rooftop space to good use, generating both clean energy for our community and lease payments that can help support education and other public services,” said Paul Bonavia, Chairman, President and CEO of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy (NYSE: UNS).

The program is designed for buildings with at least 50,000 square feet of flat rooftop space, enough room for a photovoltaic (PV) system that generates about 250 kilowatts (kW). A high school with 200,000 square feet of available roof space could host a 1 MW system that generates enough power to serve about 170 homes.

TEP Bright Roofs will incorporate low-profile, high-efficiency T5 Solar Roof Tile systems from SunPower Corp. of San Jose, Calif. The innovative system can be installed without roof penetrations, making it relatively easy to remove for roof maintenance or recoating. Tilted at a five-degree angle, the T5 Roof Tile system approximately doubles the energy generated per square meter compared to systems that are mounted flat onto commercial rooftops.

“The TEP Bright Roofs program capitalizes on the growing value of advanced solar technology as a cost-effective energy resource that can be installed quickly anywhere and at any scale,” said Howard Wenger, president of SunPower’s utilities and power plant business group.

TEP Bright Roofs will be part of more than 125 MW of new solar generating capacity that TEP and its partners are developing in the Tucson area over the next three years. The output of those systems will help TEP satisfy Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES), which calls on utilities to increase their use of renewable energy each year until it represents 15 percent of their power in 2025.

The total installed cost of TEP Bright Roofs will be comparable to TEP’s other utility-scale systems. While they will generate less power than tracking arrays and other advanced solar technologies, they also offer unique advantages, said Dave Hutchens, Executive Vice President of TEP and UniSource Energy.

“This new program gives us an opportunity to develop new, clean energy resources in fully developed areas of our distribution grid,” said Hutchens, who oversees the company’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. “TEP Bright Roofs will help us satisfy growing energy needs without consuming land or creating new emission sources.”

The energy generated by TEP Bright Roofs will be available to TEP customers through the company’s Bright Tucson Community Solar Program. Participating customers can purchase 150 kilowatt-hour (kWh) “blocks” of solar energy, offsetting an equivalent amount of conventional power at a price that adds $3 apiece to their monthly bills. TEP customers can purchase some or all of their energy through the program, reducing or eliminating their use of fossil-fueled energy.

TEP customers have subscribed to more than 1,100 blocks of solar energy since the Bright Tucson Community Solar Program was launched Feb. 1. Solar power for the program currently is generated by a 1.6 MW solar array in the Solar Zone at the University of Arizona’s Science and Technology Park in southeast Tucson.

TEP provides safe, reliable power to more than 400,000 customers in southern Arizona. For more information, visit tep.com”

And that’s all she wrote…but you will probably hear more about this from Mrs. Green on green talk radio!