Univeristy of Arizona Completes Phase One of Solar Testing Facility

Tech Parks Arizona recently celebrated the completion of Phase One of Solar Zone at the University of Arizona Tech Park. The project, a partnership between UA and Tucson Electric Power, is one of the largest multi-technology solar testing and demonstration sites in the world.

Aerial view of Tech Park

Tech Parks Arizona recently celebrated the completion of Phase One of Solar Zone at the University of Arizona (UA) Tech Park. The project, a partnership between UA and Tucson Electric Power, is one of the largest multi-technology solar testing and demonstration sites in the world.

Development of Solar Zone kicked off in 2011. Located at the UA Tech Park in southeastern Tucson, Phase One occupies 165 acres of land. The one megawatt solar array built in the first step is owned by Washington Gas Energy Systems, and it deploys Cogenra Solar’s T14 ground mounted, Dense Cell Interconnect technology (DCI). Fierce Energy reported that WGES and Tucson Electric Power signed a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Solar cell developers need to test their products under identical operating conditions in order to determine when systems are most efficient and economical, and the goal of the Solar Zone project is to provide researchers with data and the ability to evaluate various technologies as they perform side by side. Researchers will now have the opportunity to test everything from solar power forecasting to the environmental impact of solar energy installations.

University of Arizona entities involved in the Solar Zone include the Renewable Energy Network, the College of Engineering, the College of Science, the College of Optical Sciences, Department of Physics, UA Institute for the Environment, and Biosphere2. Further companies and organizations – beside WGES, Cogenra and TEP – that will test and demonstrate technology in the Solar Zone include Arzon Solar, Duke Energy, E.ON Climate and Renewables, REhnu, Solon, IBM and Vail Academy and High School.

Photo credits: Tech Parks Arizona