Duke Energy Renewables has acquired the 10 MW Black Mountain Solar Project near Kingman. The Project was developed by Tucson-based SOLON Corp. and is expected to achieve commercial operation in October 2013. Financial terms were not disclosed. The acquisition is Duke's third photovoltaic (PV) plant in Arizona, along with the 4 MW Ajo Solar Farm in southern Arizona and the 15 MW Bagdad Solar Farm near Prescott. Electricity generated by the Project will be purchased by UniSource Energy Services, a sister company to Tucson Electric Power (TEP), under a twenty-year power purchase agreement.
Duke appears to be one of the few utilities investing in renewable projects outside its service area and has also been one of the few utilities in support of climate change legislation and various EPA rules that impact the electric industry. Duke Energy Renewables owns nine additional solar farms outside of Arizona along with ten wind farms. According to SOLON's press release, Duke has invested more than $2.5 billion in wind and solar projects since 2007.
SOLON Corp. is a subsidiary of the SOLON Energy GmbH, based in Berlin, Germany. SOLON closed its Tucson manufacturing facility in the fall of 2011 and has since focused on project development. The Black Mountain Project uses SOLON's single-axis tracking technology, and SOLON will be responsible for operations and maintenance of the system, after it finishes construction.