Arizona’s got plenty of sunshine and it’s capitalized on that by adding lots of solar power lately. The state’s largest utility, APS, already has more than 1,300 megawatts of solar power installed—including residential solar power. Now APS will further increase its use of solar and renewable energy with 850 megawatts of energy storage and at least 100 more megawatts of new solar power by 2025.
“Large-scale battery storage is a critical step on the path to reliable and affordable clean-energy solutions,” said Pat Graham, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Arizona.
The utility, which already sources its power from 50 percent clean energy—including nuclear, said it is launching three new clean energy initiatives to reduce pressure during its peak energy demand hours. The initiatives include adding energy storage to existing solar farms, creating new solar farms with energy storage and providing more clean energy when its needed most.
“Arizona is already a national leader in solar energy. The challenge is, no one has figured out how to stop the sun from setting at night,” said APS Chairman and CEO Don Brandt. “As storage technology improves and declines in cost, we will increasingly be able to store the power of the sun cost-effectively to deliver when our customers need it.”
Under the new initiatives the utility will add 200 megawatts of battery storage systems to existing solar farms across eight systems. Six of the new systems will be installed by Invenergy in Maricopa County and Yuma by 2020. Two more will come online in 2021.
The utility also will build 500 megawatts of solar storage and stand-alone battery storage by 2025 with the first project being a 100-megawatt solar-storage plant. That’s in addition to the 50 megawatt energy storage project coupled with a 65 megawatt solar farm that’s being built by First Solar that will come online in 2021.
Under the third initiative the utility will use 150 megawatts of energy storage powered by solar to meet part of the peak demand of its customers in the late afternoon. The utility said it’s traditionally met that additional demand with natural gas power, but this is a new direction for it.
“The Energy Storage Association congratulates APS for cementing its leadership among utilities by integrating energy storage into its system operations and realizing savings for consumers,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of ESA. “We especially applaud APS for partnering with third parties in this effort, sending a strong signal for businesses to invest in energy storage in Arizona. We look forward to that day when energy storage is the central tool for maintaining a reliable and resilient, efficient, sustainable and affordable grid.”Tweet