An association of Arizona business, civic, academic and nonprofit organizations presented Tucson Electric Power (TEP) with an environmental stewardship award for the company’s leadership and continued investment in solar energy at the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park’s Solar Zone. The Environmental Stewardship Award for Southern Arizona was presented to TEP at the 33rd Annual Valley Forward Environmental Excellence Awards, held on Saturday, Sept. 14 in Phoenix. Sponsored by Valley Forward, an association of more than 250 large and small businesses, municipalities, educational organizations and other groups, the award program was created to recognize outstanding contributions in environmental leadership and sustainability. This is the first year that projects outside of the Phoenix area were recognized as part of the awards program. TEP is the first recipient of the award in southern Arizona. Pima County’s Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations and Tucson Clean & Beautiful’s Trees for Tucson program — also sponsored by TEP — received awards of merit in the category. More than 110 nominations were submitted for the entire awards program. “We feel honored to be recognized, and we hope all residents of southern Arizona take pride in the Solar Zone. It’s a unique project that promotes the development of cost-effective solar energy while allowing us to evaluate multiple technologies in one location,” said Carmine Tilghman, TEP’s Director of Wholesale & Renewable Energy. “We’re very proud of our partnership with the University of Arizona and we look forward to our continuing effort to support solar energy as a clean, renewable resource.” The Solar Zone — designed to facilitate the construction, testing and evaluation of various solar technologies — currently consists of five solar projects featuring six technologies. TEP has invested $22 million to build, own, and operate two of the projects. With a combined capacity of 21 megawatts (MW), the electric power generated by these systems is fed into the grid and delivered to TEP customers. Through TEP’s renewable energy procurement process, more than $100 million will be invested in the Solar Zone.