Tucson International Airport leases out land for solar project

The Tucson International Airport Authority approved a plan Tuesday to
lease a plot of its land to Tucson Electric Power for a 5-megawatt
photovoltaic solar project.
TUS_Terminal_(Radek_Oneksiak).jpgThe airport authority agreed to sign a 20-year lease for 50 acres adjacent to the airport. The power company will pay the airport authority $46,716.50 per year for the lease of the land, according to a press release from the airport authority.

The land was once used as a gravel pit, said Paula Perino, the airport authoritys director of information, so its previously disturbed and cant be used for many things because of its close proximity to the air field.

This is a compatible use, she said, and a great partnership with Tucson Electric Power.

Tucson Electric Power is the utility that serves Pimona County, Ariz.

The utility plans to install a single axis tracking photovoltaic system, according to the authoritys press release. Solon has been contracted to build the system, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2011.

The power will be fed into the electric grid, Perino said, and the airports 50-acre site is well located near a Tucson Electric power distribution center.

The airport will not benefit directly from the energy production of the solar farm, Perino said, only the land lease. But the airport does buy its power from Tucson Electric Power.

The energy collected from the project will go back into the grid, Perino said. And it will benefit the community.

This is not the first project the airport has teamed up with the local utility on, according to the authoritys press release. The airport installed a photovoltaic solar system on the Tucson International Airport parking lot revenue control building in 2007.

The collaboration between Tucson Airport Authority and Tucson Electric Power Co. is another clear indication of the great strides our state is making to harness the power of the sun and put it to work for us, U.S. Congresswoman from Arizona Gabrielle Giffords was quoted in the release. This announcement is very good news for consumers, airport users and Arizona's growing solar energy industry.
The Tucson International Airport Authority
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