Now the University has announced a partnership with one of Arizona's largest utilities Salt River Project (SRP) and SunPower to install a 1MW solar plant using an innovative new tracking technology which, its makers say, is designed to deliver the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar power plants available today. Using a combination of single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, the tracker concentrates light onto solar cells and is said to reduce the number of cells by 20%, compared to an equivalent-output conventional solar array.This from the SunPower press release:
SunPower is engineering and constructing the plant on the southeast corner of the ASU Polytechnic campus, and will operate and maintain it. Under a purchase-power agreement, SRP will buy the entire output of the solar plant from SunPower and, in a separate agreement, ASU will purchase all of the energy attributable to the plant for use at its Polytechnic campus. The plant is expected to produce an amount of energy equal to that needed to serve about 225 SRP customers' homes, will require minimal water use, and supports ASU's renewable energy goals.
Given the mechanical complexity of a system like this, and given the ferocious cost reductions seen in photovoltaics recently, it will be interesting to see how the economics play out going forward. But here's a promo video from SunPower that makes some pretty lofty claims.