Where You Live
developed as part of the Sustainable Environment Development Initiative.
Tempe’s new $25 million, 40,000-square-foot ( 3,716
square meters) Transportation Center is one of the most
energy-efficient buildings in the state. It’s the regional hub
for light rail and bus service but also has offices and retail
space. The passive solar design features a green roof, moveable solar screening, a rainwater catchment and storage
system and a graywater-recycling system.
In Tucson, the solar-and-sustainable Civano residential
development continues to evolve. Planning for this community was begun by the state’s energy office in 1988,
and it’s now well toward completion of the planned 1,250
homes, with a thriving homeowner’s association.
Tucson is also building a solar infill community within
its historic district, and has begun planning for a solar improvement district. Tucson was given a $500,000 two-year
federal grant in 2007 to become a “Solar America City.”
The city has installed PV arrays at a parking garage ( 60
kilowatts), a reservoir (74 k W) and at its Central Arizona
Project aqueduct ( 43 k W). In the planning stage is the
Avra Valley pumping station ( 28 megawatts).
Abengoa Solar Inc. of Spain plans to build a concentrat-
ing thermal plant at Gila Bend. The station uses thermal
energy storage for continued electrical generation after
sunset. The company expects to sell power for 14 cents per
kilowatt-hour, compared to Arizona’s prevailing retail rate
of 21 cents.
Arizona’s first commercial wind plant will be the 63-
megawatt Dry Lake Wind Project near Wilcox, slated to
operate later this year. The wind farm expands the diversity
of power supply for the Salt River Project utility. SRP now
buys power from out-of-state wind farms.
Tucson Electric Power (TEP) will expand its Springer-ville photovoltaic generating plant. The array began producing in 2001. Capacity is now 4. 6 megawatts, and the
plant will expand to 8 megawatts. Adjoining land can accommodate a second 8-MW array.
An advantage of PV technology is that the technology needs water only to wash dust off the modules. Other
forms of power generation can’t function without water
for cooling, and water cannot be moved without power. In
a desert region like Arizona, the interdependence of power
and water drives up the cost of both. The utilities provide a
number of incentives for water conservation. For instance,
they promote dual-flush toilets that save 20,000 gallons
per unit per year, graywater recycling, rainwater storage
and demand-side management. ST
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