Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) has selected Black & Veatch to design and build a new solar photovoltaic (PV) facility — the 32MW Gila Bend Solar Power Plant, part of the APS AZ Sun Program. Construction will begin in October 2013 with project completion expected in June 2014. The nine-month project will bring more than 150 jobs to Arizona.

"The Gila Bend Plant is just one more example of APS`s commitment to solar energy,” said Barbara Lockwood, APS general manager of energy innovation. “APS-owned, utility-scale solar is good for customers, the solar industry and the state of Arizona. The Gila Bend Plant, just like all of our solar facilities, is being built by a third-party solar developer. Black & Veatch was selected through a competitive bidding process, helping to ensure a cost-effective price for our customers. In addition, this project is bringing significant economic benefits to Arizona, including high-quality jobs."

Located on 400 acres in Gila Bend, Ariz., the project will have more than 170,000 single-axis tracker polycrystalline modules that will generate enough solar energy to power 8,000 Arizona homes and businesses. The single-axis tracker design enables the solar panels to follow the sun across the sky.

"APS is a leader in solar development in Arizona — providing opportunities for solar developers and installers, creating valuable jobs for the industry and helping to create a sustainable energy future for their customers," said Dean Oskvig, president and CEO, B&V Energy, Black & Veatch. "Black & Veatch has been involved in nearly half the utility-scale photovoltaic plants currently operating in North America. We will bring this expertise to what will be the second largest plant under the AZ Sun program to date."

The Gila Bend Plant will be the seventh AZ Sun facility to break ground. With AZ Sun, APS is investing in the development of PV power plants across the state. APS currently has 86MW of AZ Sun in service, along with 64MW under construction or in development. AZ Sun is one piece of APS` diverse solar portfolio, which includes third-party owned power purchase agreements, utility-scale APS owned facilities, and customer-owned rooftop installations.