A new, 100 megawatt (MW) solar farm being built by NextEra Energy for Tuscon Electric Power (TEP) will produce electricity at less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour—that’s a historically low price for solar in the US—if not the world. The system and an accompanying 30 MW energy storage system are slated to come online by the end of 2019.
“We are pleased to partner with Tucson Electric Power on this exciting new renewable energy project,” said Mike O’Sullivan, senior vice president of Development for NextEra Energy Resources. “In addition to clean, low-cost energy, this project will create good-paying jobs and increased tax revenue for the state and local community.”
The cost of solar power has continued to come down significantly, but at 3 cents per kilowatt hour, that’s likely less than the cost of electricity from natural-gas based electric generation. The lowest cost per kilowatt hour contract for solar power thus far was the 2.91 cents per kilowatt hour for a project announced last year in Chile.
Some other projects in the same price range were also signed in other countries—but not in the US. As TEP puts it: “TEP will buy the system’s output for 20 years for less than three cents per kilowatt hour—less than half as much as it agreed to pay under similar contracts in recent years.”
“Focusing our resources on the development of cost-effective community scale systems allows us to provide more solar energy to more customers for less money,” said Carmine Tilghman, Senior Director of Energy Supply and Renewable Energy for TEP. “The best way to help solar grow in our community is by planning and siting systems in an organized, responsible and equitable manner.”
“This new local system combines cost-effective energy production with cutting edge energy storage, helping us provide sustainable, reliable and affordable service to all of our customers for decades to come,” Tilghman said.
When the new solar farm and the accompanying energy storage farm are built out, along with a planned 100 MW wind project TEP’s renewable energy portfolio will serve nearly a third of Tucson’s homes with renewable energy. The projects help move the utility toward its goal of sourcing at least 30 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2030. That’s doubling the state’s 2025 goal, the company said.Tweet