75,168 Panels on 1,522 rows.
Cotton Center Solar Plant
Gila Bend, AZ United States
In the mid-2000's, the Federal Government began awarding tax credits to energy producers based upon the percentage of renewable energy relative to the company's total supply. These incentives presented vast opportunities to the solar energy production industry. Because the legislation included conditions for a minimum product life of 25 years, energy companies like Arizona Public Service (APS) required corrosion protection up to the challenge. Hot-dip galvanized (HDG) steel was able to provide the required durability, even in the extreme heat and acidic soils of Arizona. To comply with the 25-year product-life restriction, other coatings, such as paint or powder coating, would require periodic repair and touch-up, which would erode the bottom line for APS. HDG will provide a minimum of 75 years of maintenance-free service, even in the harshest environments saving money over the life of the project and was also competitive with other coatings in initial cost. Another benefit of HDG is the ability of the galvanizer to customize turnaround times. Providing the support structures for over 75,000 photovoltaic panels involved tens of thousands of individual pieces that required handling, bundling and installation - stages of processing in which damage to other coating methods can occur and cause delays in production. With hot-dip galvanizing, no on-site application or touch-up was required, allowing the fabricator and erector to meet deadlines.
The plant will be located in the new Solar Overlay Zone. The municipality has designated as a fast track permitting area for new solar photovoltaic projects. HDG played a critical role in helping meet the delivery requirements. This will improve the marketability of galvanized solar projects which can be delayed in the permitting process. Having cost-effective solar power will bring manufacturing to the area and more jobs.
The Cotton Center is one of five solar fields located in Arizona. With the addition of this field, Arizona Public Service will have commitments for 83 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power plants across the state. Specifically, the Cotton Center field contains a total of 75,168 PV panels arranged in 1,522 rows that will supply 17 megawatts of power, enough to meet the energy needs of 4,250 residential customers. Located in what was once a cotton field that required constant irrigation, the solar plant represents a 75% to 90% reduction in water use for the area. So not only is the field producing energy,but it is also providing a savings in terms of resources as well. In addition to resource production and conservation, the construction of the solar field has stimulated the local economy. The small community of Gila Bend and its 2,000 inhabitants were hit hard by the current recession. The Cotton Center project has since created 2,300 new jobs for the area and opened the doors for more manufacturing companies to open operations in Gila Bend. Hot-dip galvanizing is the backbone of the panels supporting the resurgence of this community.
Electrical, Utility & Communication
Gila Bend, AZ United States
Reasons for Galvanizing
Coating Durability, Life-Cycle Cost, Turnaround Time
Structural tubing, angle, plate, fixtures and fasteners.
Arizona Public Service - Jim Petrofsky
Solon Solar - Ken Quast
Caid Industries - William Ausenmacher /Jason Fata
AZZ Galvanizing - Arizona