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AWC looks to the sun for its future
Arizona Western College broke ground Tuesday morning on a project that will ultimately provide savings through Yuma's abundance of sun.
Tuesday, May 24, several community members gathered at AWC's parking lot 1, as the college, Main Street Power Company Inc., developer PPA Partners, Arizona Public Services and EPC Rosendin Electric broke ground on a five megawatt project that, according to Rosendin Electric, is anticipated to produce 100 percent of the campus' daytime electricity needs upon completion slated for October.
“This project is huge for our community and also for the future of renewable energy education around the country,” AWC President Glenn Mayle said in a statement for the event.
“As colleges face increased enrollment and decreased funding, any steps we can take towards energy independence means more resources for our classes, for faculty, and ultimately benefits the students.”
According to Jonathan W. Postal, senior vice president of business development and government relations for Colorado based, Main Street Power, the project has been in development with Rosendin Electric and PPA Partners for the past two years.
The overall feel amongst speakers at the event were pride, excitement for the future of AWC with the solar project.
“You're not going to recognize this campus three months from now,” Mayle said in a speech at the event.
Julie Engel, president/CEO of the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, said the event marked one of the most exciting days for Yuma County and added that it makes sense that Yuma has the largest utility scaled solar plant being built in Dateland currently.
“We have the capacity in Yuma County to supply all of the United States with Solar energy right here,” Engel said.
“As an economic developer, this is a dream come true.”
Postal said the project will utilize five different types of technologies across the campus, which will allow the industry and the college to see which programs and which systems work best in different types of climates.
The technologies being used in the project include CPV, Thin Film Panels, Monocrystalline panels, single-axis trackers.
“They are all going to work fantastic because we have 360 plus days of sunshine here,” Postal said with a chuckle.
The project is estimated to cost 30 to 40 million dollars, and, according to Postal, Main Street Power is in a partnership with Morgan Stanley, MS Solar Solutions, in order to fund the unique project.
Bennett Gerlie, a representative from Morgan Stanley flew in from New York to attend the event and commented on the cutting edge advancements of the project.
“Five different technologies is really cutting edge in the industry. Normally everybody does one technology, one racking, one module, and to be able to do five like this is really exciting,” Gerlie said.