Solar Tracker Project Slated for Yuma, Arizona

Yuma’s abundant sunshine will soon help bring additional, clean, renewable energy to the Yuma community. Through a new partnership, the City of Yuma and APS are harnessing the sun’s rays to generate energy in a “solar garden” at the Yuma West Wetlands Park.

The “solar garden” will consist of 24 single-axis photovoltaic trackers that will produce 3,600 watts (86 kW total installed capacity) of power that will be fed directly into the electrical grid every day. This is enough energy to power approximately 20 homes in the Yuma area. A groundbreaking was recently held to celebrate construction of the new facility. “I’m extremely excited to see this facility come to fruition,” said Roger Blakeley, Park Development Manager. “I’m also thankful to work for a city that has the motivation and vision to undertake a project that creates an opportunity for all of us to learn about solar power and how it can affect our lives.” Over a year, the tracker technology will provide up to 30 percent more energy than equally sized, traditional, fixed photovoltaic panels, which do not follow the sun’s movement. The trackers will be placed facing South, and rotate approximately 80 degrees from the East in the morning to the West in the afternoon. They will rotate from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., and will work with the utilization of a clock, controller and hydraulic pump to move about two degrees every eight minutes. Construction of the plant will be completed by June 2005, and like all other projects in the Yuma West Wetlands Park, will be linked to educational opportunities. The park is an environmental haven of trees, trails, and burrowing owl habitats, all intertwined with educational outreach. “This particular project will increase awareness of viable alternatives for producing clean energy,” said Ed Fox, APS Vice President, Communications, Environment & Safety. “Perhaps the biggest benefactors of this project are the young people of Yuma, who will grow up with alternative energy in their backyard and realize its potential in everyday applications.”

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