Loan of US$13.5M approved for construction of AstroSol Tech Park 6.1-MW solar plant in Tucson, Arizona; electricity to be purchased by Tucson Electric

SAN ANTONIO , January 18, 2012 (press release) – The Board of Directors of the North American Development Bank (NADB) and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) approved certification and financing for a 6.1-megawatt (MW) solar energy plant to provide electricity to Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) in Tucson, Arizona.

A US$13.15 million loan for the construction of the new plant has been approved for AstroSol Tech Park AZ LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AstroSol Inc., a joint venture between solar panel manufacturer Astronergy Solar, Inc. and solar project developer Solmotion GmbH, Germany. The project is managed by vis solis LLC, TN, the US subsidiary of Solmotion.

The electricity generated by the new plant will be purchased by TEP, and will primarily be used to serve the metropolitan area of Tucson. TEP serves over 400,000 customers in southern Arizona, covering the city of Tucson, and numerous towns and unincorporated areas in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties.

This project is part of TEP’s plan to comply with the renewable portfolio standard for utilities in the state of Arizona, which requires electric utilities in Arizona to generate 15% of their energy from renewable resources by 2025.

The project consists of a solar photovoltaic energy plant using thin film amorphous silicon modules mounted on a fixed-tilt racking structure based on azimuth positioning with a nameplate capacity of approximately 6.1 megawatts of electricity.

Environmental benefits from this project include the displacement of over 7,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 28 metric tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 44 metric tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) per year. In addition, the project will form part of the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park (UASTP) Solar Zone, a research facility designed to enable various solar technologies to perform side by side, under identical operating conditions, in order to assess the most optimal technology and/or technological mix for solar energy production in the U.S. Southwest.

Since June 2011 three solar energy projects have been certified by BECC and received financing approval from NADB for loans totaling US$179.1 million. These projects—one located in Niland, CA, and the other two in the Tucson, AZ area—together will generate 48.1 MWAC and help the local electricity service providers to comply with their respective state renewable portfolio standards.

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