Tucson Electric Power has established a powerful partnership with the University of Arizona.
The two Tucson institutions have worked together for many years to expand educational opportunities, promote renewable energy research, provide learning opportunities for local teachers and develop innovative products.
Here are some of the ways we collaborate:
The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park, a joint venture of TEP, the university and solar developers, is one of the largest multi-technology solar demonstration sites in the United States. Nine solar power systems at the site contribute 25 megawatts to TEP’s renewable energy portfolio.
The first-of-its-kind research park is located at Rita Road near Interstate 10.
TEP collaborates with scientists in the UA’s Institute for Energy Solutions to test solar panels, experiment with different technologies and develop techniques to test batteries for storing energy. The UA and TEP began their work in the late 2000s with a solar test yard on TEP’s Irvington campus and have since expanded their research at the Solar Zone. Read more about TEP’s solar research.
We also work with the UA to predict how solar and wind power systems will perform and provide power to the grid. Most other utilities rely on weather forecasts from commercial providers.
Raptor Protection Program
UA wildlife biologists contribute to TEP’s Raptor Protection Program, which safeguards electric equipment to keep large birds safe.
The biologists help us identify and evaluate parts of the electrical system that pose a risk to raptors and contribute to the design of protective solutions. Read more about the Raptor Protection Program.
Mt. Lemmon Science Tour App
TEP supported the development of the Mt. Lemmon Science Tour App, launched by the UA College of Science through its Geotourism Initiative. The app is a free audio tour that spans the hour-long drive from the base of the Catalina Highway to the pine-filled top, giving science and history lessons along the way.
The app is available for Android and Apple smart phones and tablets. Read more about the Science Tour App.
TEP sponsors UA outreach efforts on science education.
Racing the Sun, developed by the UA Tech Park, encourages high school students to build solar-powered go-karts that they race in an annual competition, sponsored by TEP. For next year’s race, TEP employees also plan to build their own team go-kart that will compete against vehicles built by other business and university teams. Read more about Racing the Sun.
On campus, TEP has served as a presenting sponsor for the UA’s College of Science lecture series, including one earlier this year, called “Rethinking Reality,” which explored concepts in modern physics.
TEP also donates to other UA programs, including the Arizona Assurance Program for financial aid and support services for limited-income students and the Adult Audiologic Rehabilitation Program that helps individuals with hearing loss learn communication skills.
Teachers in Industry
Each summer, local middle and high school teachers participate in the UA’s Teachers in Industry program, which gives teachers real-world experience that they can take back to their classrooms in the fall. Six teachers who instruct science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, held summer jobs at TEP this year.
Classes begin at the UA on Aug. 21.