Arizona’s First Commercial Solar Plant Celebrates 16th Birthday

The APS plant that gave birth to commercial solar power in Arizona quietly comes of age this month in Flagstaff. Instead of celebrating with a glamorous “Sunny Sweet 16” party, this teenager will simply keep turning sunlight into clean, renewable energy for APS customers.

Flagstaff_solar_plant_(10-01-13)The APS solar power plant began delivering electricity in October 1997, making it the first commercial solar operation in the state. Housed within the APS Flagstaff service yard, the plant produces 82 kilowatts of solar power, enough to power 21 homes. It uses single axis tracking technology to maximize the sun’s energy.

“The Flagstaff facility is an important milestone in making Arizona the solar capital of America,” said Barbara Lockwood, General Manager of APS Energy Innovation. “Since 1954, APS has led the advancement of solar energy in Arizona. No one is more committed to creating a sustainable future for our state than the more than 6,700 employees who make up APS. The proof is in the numbers.”

APS solar by the numbers:

— $1 billion – Amount APS is spending to build and operate solar plants across the state.

— 1 – Arizona’s national ranking for most utility-scale solar facilities installed.

— 1 – Arizona’s ranking for solar electricity capacity per resident.

— 2 – Arizona’s national ranking for total solar installations.

— 10 – APS ranks as one of the top 10 solar utilities in America.

— 300-plus – Number of schools participating in APS programs to install solar panels.

— 185,000 – Number of homes APS will power with solar energy by the end of 2013.

APS employees honored the Flagstaff plant with a sunny-themed birthday cake and special celebration video posted on YouTube.

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