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Solar Program Honored for Utility Innovation

Solar Program Honored for Utility InnovationThe Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has honored Tucson Electric Power (TEP) with a Solar Business Achievement Award for its innovative Bright Tucson Community Solar Program, which allows customers to purchase solar energy directly from their utility.

SEPA, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group with more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members nationwide, recognized TEP today with an award for Utility Innovation in Solar Program Design.

“TEP continues to demonstrate its leadership in the utility industry through the implementation of its Bright Tucson Community Solar Program,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA’s President and CEO. “Customers in the TEP service territory are lucky to have a progressive energy provider that offers programs that allow them to take advantage of solar energy in a low-cost, hassle-free way.”

TEP’s Bright Tucson Community Solar Program allows customers to purchase energy from local solar arrays in 150 kilowatt-hour (kWh) “blocks” that add $3 each to their monthly bills. Customers can purchase some or all of their energy through the program, reducing or eliminating their use of conventional power while locking in an affordable solar energy rate for up to 20 years.

“The program breaks through barriers that prevented renters, property owners with limited rooftop space and others from investing in solar energy,” said David Hutchens, Executive Vice President of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE: UNS). “The Bright Tucson Community Solar program offers a flexible, affordable way to go green without any up-front cost or complications.”

Hutchens accepted the award today in Dallas during Solar Power International 2011, a conference presented by SEPA and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Phoenix-based Salt River Project also was honored for Utility Innovation in Solar Program Design for its SRP EarthWise program, which allows schools and residential customers to buy energy from a 20-megawatt (MW) solar array in Florence, Ariz.

The Bright Tucson Community Solar Program is part of TEP’s ongoing plan to dramatically expand its solar generating resources. With more than 25 MW of solar generation online already, the company expects to expand that capacity to more than 200 MW by the end of 2014 through a combination of company owned resources, privately developed projects and distributed generating systems.

Tucson Electric Power provides safe, reliable service to more than 402,000 customers in southern Arizona. To learn more about the Bright Tucson Community Solar Program or TEP’s other green energy programs, visit For more information about UniSource Energy, visit

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is an educational nonprofit dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios for the benefit of the utility, its customers and the public good. With more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members, SEPA provides unbiased utility solar market intelligence, up-to-date information about technologies and business models, and peer-to-peer interaction. From hosting national events to one-on-one counseling, SEPA helps utilities make smart solar decisions.

For more information, visit

Solar Program Honored for Utility Innovation Tags: association phoenix, business achievement award, energy industries association, energy rate, kilowatt hour, progressive energy, solar arrays, solar business, solar energy industries, Solar Energy Industries Association, solar panels, solar program, solar power, tucson community, Tucson Electric Power, tucson electric power tep, utility innovation

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