Cotton Center Solar Plant Thriving in Southwest

There is no shortage of sun in Arizona, and with more than 300 days per year of sunshine and blue skies, Gila Bend is an ideal location in this solar-rich state for the Cotton Center Solar Plant. Developed and constructed by SOLON Corporation and now owned by Arizona Public Service (APS), the 17-megawatt Cotton Center Solar Plant was the first project ever contracted under Gila Bend’s Solar Field Overlay Zone. Within this zone, the permitting for solar projects can be fast-tracked, ensuring plants come together quickly.

Photo Credit SOLON Corporation

Spanning an area of 145 acres, the Cotton Center Solar Plant, which was commissioned in December 2011, generates up to 45,930 MWh of electricity, enough solar power to fulfill the energy needs of more than 4,000 APS customers.

Cotton Center is also the second APS AZ Sun facility to bring solar power to customers. With AZ Sun, APS is investing in the development of up to 200 MW of PV power plants across Arizona.

Powered by SMA 

Approximately 93,000 SOLON solar panels follow the sun across the sky using a single-axis tracking system. 18 SMA 1MW MV Power Platforms convert the generated energy into grid-compatible alternating current.

The SMA MV Power Platform is available in 1.0–1.6 megawatt configurations. These medium-voltage turnkey power solutions include two SMA Sunny Central inverters, a medium-voltage transformer, optional DC or AC/DC disconnect cabinets, and a control and supply panel for power distribution to local loads and (optionally) field tracker motors.

Solar Spotlight aims to highlight SMA inverters in real-world situations. Email us with information about your SMA-powered PV projects at

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