News » 2012 » KYOCERA Partners with Sky Renewable for APS/Suns Solar Project at US Airways


KYOCERA Partners with Sky Renewable for APS/Suns Solar Project at US Airways

Suns Guard, Steve Nash Addresses Commitment to Sustainability in Phoenix

Planet Orange is now a power house.   

Phoenix and Arizona Public Service officials, NBA Phoenix Suns executives and point guard Steve Nash on Monday switched on 966 solar panels on the roof of US Airways Center parking garage. They've named it the APS Suns Powered Solar Structure.

Nash, who has been a spokesman for APS' energy-saving campaigns since 2008, said the new project fits in with his personal beliefs and practices in protecting the environment and reducing energy waste.

"I feel really proud whether at home or whether at work that solar energy is part of that commitment," Nash said.

The arena is the latest city-owned building to house a tiny solar-power-generating station. Others are the Phoenix Convention Center and an even larger project launched recently at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where solar panels now produce 51 percent of the energy needed to power the airport Rental Car Center, the East Economy lot and its toll plaza.

The Suns solar-topped garage roof can provide 25 percent of the power the arena needs to power its Casino Arizona Pavilion.

Brad Casper, Phoenix Suns president, said the solar project is one piece of a multipronged effort by the team to make its facilities greener.

Casper noted the Jefferson Street garage that the Suns co-own with the Arizona Diamondbacks is lit by T-8 bulbs -- energy-efficient lights that flick on when people are moving through the garage but can turn off when no one is inside.

He also noted the Suns have a recycling program -- much like one run by the Diamondbacks at Chase Field, about a block from US Airways Center.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said the Suns rooftop solar project is part of the city's effort to become a sustainable city.

The US Airways Center solar project, a joint effort between the Suns and APS, cost an estimated $1.25 million. The panels were made by Kyocera Group, a Japanese manufacturer, with installation by two Phoenix companies, GTR Engineering LLC and Sky Renewable Energy.

APS officials said the project's annual cost will fall under $1 million because of a federal incentive from the U.S. Department of Energy that drops the expense by 30 percent.

Like Phoenix, the Arizona Corporation Commission also has plans for a greener Arizona. It is requiring utility companies to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable-energy sources by 2025.

A third of the renewable energy (an estimated 2,000 megawatts) must come from "distributed energy technologies."

That means utilities are supposed to generate a third of the renewable-based electricity from multiple sources that are much smaller in size than the usual megapower sites such as nuclear and coal plants. A series of small rooftop solar projects like the one at US Airways Center help companies such as APS meet the ACC requirement.

Donald Brandt, CEO and president of APS parent company Pinnacle West, said APS is well on track to fulfill the 15-percent goal, producing 900 megawatts from renewable energies.

Brandt said one of its largest renewable projects, a giant solar farm, is under construction near Gila Bend, 70 miles southwest of Phoenix. The Solana Generating Station spans 3 square miles and will produce 280 megawatts of electricity, making it one of the world's largest solar complexes. After it is finished next year, it can provide power to 70,000 homes.