Solar plant will charge energy storage battery for SRP

Salt River Project announced a 20-year power purchase agreement for a grid-scale, integrated solar and battery project that will be located in Pinal County. SRP will purchase all of the energy produced at the Pinal Central Energy Center, located near Coolidge, which will be constructed and owned by a unit of NextEra Energy Resources.

A unit of NextEra Energy Resources will build a single-axis tracking, 20 MW solar photovoltaic generation facility at the site and combine it with a 10 MW lithium-ion energy storage system. The solar power plant will be used to charge the battery so it can deliver energy when the sun is not shining. The project is expected to begin operations by the end of 2017. 20 MW is about enough energy to serve 5,000 average residential homes.

Effective battery storage could assist SRP in meeting peak customer demand and will optimize solar energy output in the future if the technology is determined to be efficient and economical.

“This project will give us valuable experience with large-scale battery storage operations,” said SRP General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Mark Bonsall. “It is our hope that this technology will prove to be an important part of our energy portfolio as we continue to seek sustainable resources to serve our customers.”

As part of a competitive solicitation process, SRP’s Board also approved a second separate grid-scale battery storage project for a 10 MW battery with four hours of storage charged from the grid. SRP’s partner in this effort will be announced once a power-purchase agreement is finalized.

The SRP board has set a goal to meet 20 percent of SRP’s retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020. Currently, SRP is on schedule to meet the goal of delivering 15.9 percent of retail requirements through sustainable resources by the end of the fiscal year by using solar, wind, geothermal, hydro power and energy-efficiency measures.

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