Avra Valley was developed and is owned by NRG Energy, and the electricity will be sold to Tucson Electric Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement, making it the single largest PV system in TEP’s renewable energy portfolio. First Solar designed and constructed the power plant using its trackers and 410,000 of its Series 3 thin-film PV modules, and will provide Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services for the facility.
Avra Valley uses First Solar’s single-axis tracking system, which rotates each table of modules from east to west to follow the sun’s path through the sky and capture the maximum available sunlight. As a result, First Solar’s trackers increase the power plant’s output by more than 20 percent compared to a fixed-tilt system, and thanks to the Series 3 modules' linear response to partial shading, the integrated First Solar system can offer up to a 2+ percent higher energy yield than comparable silicon-panel systems over and above the yield advantage delivered by Series 3’s lower temperature coefficient. In addition, First Solar Trackers are engineered to require zero scheduled maintenance over the 20+-year life of the power plant. Avra Valley also incorporates First Solar’s advanced remote diagnostic capabilities and grid controls, which enable it to contribute to power grid stability.