Pima County officials approve construction of Fotowatio Renewable Ventures' 25-MW solar PV array on 305 acres in Avra Valley, Arizona; Tucson Electric Power to buy electricity when system begins operations, scheduled for April 2012

TUCSON, Arizona , June 21, 2011 (press release) – The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to approve construction of a 25-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic array in Avra Valley that will become Tucson Electric Power’s largest single source of solar energy.

“We commend the Pima County Board of Supervisors for recognizing the value of this project and reinforcing our shared vision of Pima County as an ideal site for the development of cost effective, large-scale solar projects”

The system will be built, owned and operated by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) on 305 acres of former farmland at the northwest corner of Sanders and Emigh Roads. TEP will purchase all of the energy the system produces – enough to power more than 4,500 homes. Construction will begin this fall, and the system is scheduled to be completed by April 2012.

“We commend the Pima County Board of Supervisors for recognizing the value of this project and reinforcing our shared vision of Pima County as an ideal site for the development of cost effective, large-scale solar projects,” said Paul Bonavia, Chairman, President and CEO of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE: UNS). “This project will nearly double our solar energy resources while generating significant benefits for the local economy.”

FRV’s system will produce nearly $4.5 million in property tax revenues for Pima County over the life of the company’s 20-year power purchase agreement with TEP. The system also will generate significant lease revenue for Tucson Water, which owns the site. Construction of the array will create 250-300 short-term jobs and $400,000 in sales tax revenue for Pima County. When the system is operational, between six and eight security and maintenance jobs will be needed.

“These were the kind of positive impacts we envisioned when we set out to build up TEP’s renewable power portfolio through local solar projects,” Bonavia said. “The benefits of green energy development will continue to grow as we work with government officials, developers and our customers to expand solar energy resources across Pima County.”

FRV’s system is one of 10 solar power projects planned for the Tucson area through power purchase agreements with private developers. TEP also is expanding its own solar power systems and providing incentives to help customers add photovoltaic arrays to their homes and businesses. In all, TEP plans to expand its solar generating capacity from 25 MW today to more than 200 MW by the end of 2014.

TEP, a subsidiary of UniSource Energy, provides safe, reliable power to more than 402,000 customers in the Tucson metropolitan area. To learn more, visit TEP.com. For more information about UniSource Energy, visit uns.com.

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