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The Solar Zone @ the UA Tech Park in Tucson, Arizona is a sweeping integration of all aspects of the industry in a supportive and competitive environment. The first-of-its-kind solar-centric research park includes:
- Power generation by multiple technologies;
- Research and development;
- Materials and supplies;
- Manufacturing and distribution of solar equipment and hardware;
- Green-job and workforce training;
- Educational outreach;
- Public demonstration and awareness hub.
The solar-centric business zone within the UA Tech Park is advancing solar energy innovation and production.
- All solar power generated in the Solar Zone will be used by Tucson Electric Power to expand its renewable energy resources in Southern Arizona. TEP also owns and operates the Solar Zone's first installed system, a 1.6 MW single-axis tracking photovoltaic array.
- The Solar Zone is in the largest multi-technology solar evaluation site in the United States. This enables various technologies to perform side by side, under identical operating conditions, so developers may determine when systems are most efficient and economical for the company and Southern Arizona.
The UA Tech Park is set in southeast Tucson, the premier location for business and industry, and an exceptional atmosphere for discovery and growth.
One of the nation's premier research parks, UA Tech Park is dedicated to the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace. The UA Tech Park:
- Has approximately 1.9 million square feet of high-tech office, research and development, and laboratory space on a secure 345–acre developed campus. The Solar Zone's 222 acres are the north-central section of the UA Tech Park's total 1,345 acres.
- Is home to nearly 50 companies and business organizations, and about 7,000 high-tech workers, which includes four Fortune 500 companies, a technology business incubator and a branch campus of the University of Arizona.
- Includes the on-site Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI), a business incubator for developing technology companies, offering services to solar startups.
The Solar Zone links selected and prequalified research centers internationally that are committed to working collaboratively to grow this industry. These productive partnerships include a network of cities and regions in the United States, Canada, and Europe including Ottawa (Canada) and Berlin (Germany).
"While Tucson is notorious for its abundant sunshine, the region is also becoming well known for its abundant human capital, state-of-the-art research and technology development, ample supply chain opportunities and competitive operating costs. This translates into opportunity—from sunrise to sunset—for any company wanting to take advantage of the region's unique assets."
—Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities
Unmatched Natural Resource: The Intensity of Sunlight
Tucson's bright blue skies and sunshine 86 percent of the time are unsurpassed renewable natural resources for both flat plate and concentrating solar power technologies. The intensity of Tucson's sunlight make the Solar Zone an optimal location for power generation, and developing and testing products in the harshest environment in which they will likely be placed.
Energy companies, manufacturers of solar products, solar firms researching new ideas, applications and materials, and start-up companies will find strategic, competitive advantages on this campus. The Solar Zone @ the UA Tech Park is the first solar business research park of this magnitude. Strategic advantages include:
- Location — 222 acres will cluster multiple solar generation technologies used in the marketplace, combined with next-generation product development.
- Synergy — Centralizing key suppliers in the region and state is a fundamental goal.
- Speed to market place — The Solar Zone's understanding of the competitive challenges and demands of the industry helps facilitate companies' transition to operation much faster than any other location choice.
- Talent — The next generation of solar professionals is being developed in collaboration with industry requirements at the University of Arizona.
- Innovative capacity — The Solar Zone is part of the University of Arizona, which is ranked among the top 20 public research universities nationwide.
- Raw Material — High level of solar irradiance.
The Tucson Tech Corridor includes the UA Tech Park, Port of Tucson and Diamond Ventures, Inc., covering 2,000 acres along Interstate-10. This corridor is among the top four employment centers in metro Tucson.
- With 70 companies employing approximately 10,000 people, the Tucson Tech Corridor and its members contribute an estimated $3 billion annually to Pima County's economy.
- UA Tech Park anchors the multi-industry corridor that includes Target.com Fulfillment Center, Arizona Canning, Co., Offshore International, and Global Solar Energy.
- The ready-to-expand Port of Tucson's 750–acre, intermodal warehouse and rail center, is one of the corridor's attributes.
The Solar Zone @ the UA Tech Park is aligned to the UA's solar efforts and programs in Optical Sciences, Materials Engineering, Atmospheric Sciences, Meteorology, Physical Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Chemistry.
The UA is one of the top 15 research institutions in the U.S., with over $550 million in research annually. Solar energy research, a priority for the UA, pursues innovative solutions to real-world energy problems by:
- Advancing solar technologies in nano-composite thin-film photovoltaics, high concentration photovoltaics for large-scale solar farms, organic and organic-inorganic hybrid material and more.
- Improving energy storage and distribution through techniques and systems innovation.
- Creating demonstration sites combining applied energy systems and measurements with renewable energy electricity delivery and industrial collaboration.
- Developing platforms for collaborations between science and technology research and economic analysis for policy development.
- AzRISE, a global UA institute, creates multi-disciplinary partnerships that integrate research, economics, public policy and education spanning academia, industry and government.
- AZSEN connects research and educational efforts at the university through outreach and linkages within and outside the institution.
- Biosphere 2 is a center for research, outreach, and education about Earth currently exploring novel approaches to mounting PV solar on steep, difficult-to-fit terrain.
- UA partnership with Tucson Electric Power on the TEP Solar Test Yard to study performance and energy storage of over 600 photovoltaic modules from 20 different manufacturers with 23 inverters to test solar PV performance.
- EFRC Center for Interface Science is one of 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers created in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop abundant, clean and economical energy technologies for the 21st Century. The UA is the lead institution for the Center for Interface Science working with several institutions including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Our vision is to create an integrated business location with world class companies and organizations working to increase Southern Arizona's renewable energy capacity, develop world-class solar products, create imaginative, next generation technology, and establish a model solar demonstration campus for metro Tucson. The result will be the attraction and development of successful companies in residence, substantial economic impact for the region, and increased capacity and usage of renewable energy throughout Southern Arizona.
Partnering with the UA Tech Park, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), a subsidiary of UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE: UNS), provides safe, reliable power to more than 400,000 customers in Southern Arizona. TEP is an emerging leader in solar energy, with more than 150 megawatts of new solar generating capacity in development, and scheduled to come online by the end of 2014.
Find out how your business can be part of the premier environment to create, test and deploy current and future solar technologies.