Phoenix-based Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) has signed contracts for the construction of two photovoltaic (PV) power plants with a combined capacity of 37MW. Both plants will be developed by SunEdison, with APS taking ownership at completion.

Located in Hyder and Chino Valley, the two plants will bring APS' renewable energy portfolio to nearly 682MW by 2013 (including projects currently online or in development).

The 17MW Hyder solar plant and the 20MW Chino Valley solar plant are part of APS'AZ Sun program. Through this program, APS plans to develop 100MW of utility-owned PV power plants using a procurement model where a third party builds the solar plant and APS takes ownership when it goes into commercial operation.

"These two solar projects will further increase the resource and geographic diversity of our energy supply, and under the AZ Sun program they will also provide ownership diversity," says Don Robinson, APS president and COO. “By adding layers of diversity to our energy supply, we are reducing our fuel cost risk and increasing energy security for our customers. We also are providing another substantial boost to Arizona’s growing renewable energy industry.”

With the two projects announced recently, AZ Sun has 70MW in development. Construction on the Hyder plant is expected to begin in June 2011, with an in-service date expected in the fourth quarter of 2011. Construction on the Chino Valley project is expected to start in the first quarter of 2012, with completion expected in the fourth quarter of 2012. Both facilities will use polycrystalline PV panels mounted on single-axis tracking systems.

“SunEdison continues to make large-scale solar generation a reality for utilities worldwide,” says Carlos Domenech, president of SunEdison. “With a solid track record, SunEdison is a proven choice for utility-scale solar deployment and is proud to be working with APS to help the company reach its renewable energy goals.”