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Updated Mar 14, 2014 - 3:53 pm

Tempe ready to flip the switch on huge solar array

TEMPE, Ariz. — The final panel of Tempe’s largest solar project was put in place on Friday.

The solar panels will provide electricity to Tempe’s South Water Treatment Plant.

“These 3,000 solar panels will produce 1.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “That’s enough to power 160 households in the city of Tempe. For our South Water Treatment plant, it means that these solar panels will also be supplying 15 percent of the electricity for this plant.”

They’ll also be saving the city a lot of money.

“The city expects to save more than $25,500 in utility costs in just the first year alone,” Mitchell said. “In over 20 years timeframe, we’re expected to save over $2.3 million dollars, and that’s remarkable.”

The city worked with Salt River Project and Solar City on the project for the last two years.

Tempe is planning future solar projects. One is a 900-kilowatt facility at the Johnny G. Martinez Water Treatment Plant. The other is a 250-kilowatt facility at the Police and Courts building in downtown Tempe.

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