National Bank of Arizona Reduces Energy Costs by 25% with SunPower

As a bank, our reputation is everything. We had to make sure that our solar panels function at the highest level … that’s why we selected SunPower.

– Craig Robb, former CFO, National Bank of Arizona and Director Zions Energy Link

Zions Ban corporation has taken aggressive measures to increase its own energy efficiency at a number of its banks, including National Bank of Arizona. In addition to incorporating environmentally friendly measures– such as installing energy-saving lighting and air-conditioning systems – National Bank of Arizona has invested in SunPower solar technology. While helping the planet, the nation’s 25th-largest bank says the decision is also helping its bottom line.

Environmental Responsibility a Priority

Zions Bancorporation, which owns some 600 properties housing banks and support services in ten western states, recently introduced Zions Energy Link, whose mission is to fund renewable energy projects in the communities served by the holding company.“The launch of this new division started us thinking about what we as an organization should do from a sustainability standpoint,” said Craig Robb, formerly chief financial officer at National Bank of Arizona, and now Energy Link program director. Having seen an energy reduction of 35 percent at National Bank of Arizona in Phoenix – which was made possible by a solar array, along with other energy-efficiency modifications – the company added a second solar system to the bank’s regional corporate headquarters in Tucson. The Tucson system features SunPower 305 Solar Panels, an investment that Zions believes makes sound financial sense.

SunPower, Natural Power & Energy: Perfect Partners

The SunPower panels were recommended by solar installation specialists and SunPower Commercial Dealer, Natural Power & Energy. In NP&E Zions found the type of solidity favored by banks. “Natural Power & Energy had a very sound business plan; that kind of dependability and reliability, and the kind of financial assets they have, all came into play in deciding who our partner would be,” Robb said. NP&E’s recommendation to use high-efficiency SunPower solar panels made sense from both an environmental and economic perspective, he added. “We’re a very conservative bank, so we’re always looking to align ourselves with organizations that offer long-term financial success. Natural Power & Energy’s choice of SunPower equipment – which we expect will reduce our power consumption on this building by 25 percent – was a major element in our decision-making process.”

Solar Success in the Future

Under the financing terms of National Bank of Arizona’s new solar application, the renewable energy credits are owned by local utility Tucson Electric Power Co. Robb believes this model represents the future of renewable energy projects, and will enable other organizations to implement sustainable practices. “This agreement gives us the ability to demonstrate economic recovery faster; we’re using old conventions to create new concepts,” he noted. As National Bank of Arizona anticipates a greener future, Robb predicts that SunPower solar systems could well offer additional savings. “We have multimillion-dollar energy costs for all of our buildings. If we apply the solar applications we’ve seen, we could see great success.”

Project Overview

Location:    Tucson, AZ
Completed:    October 2010
System Size:    402.6 kW
PV Surface Area:    24,000 square feet
Number of Panel:    1,320
Products:    SunPower® 305 Solar Panels

  • Electrical usage offset by 25%.
  • Expected annual energy production of at least 580,000 kWh.
  • Energy reduction is equivalent to the annual consumption of 55 Tucson households, or removing nearly 80 cars from the road.
  • Solar panels on three parking structures provide shade for employees and bank customers.