First Solar to build 50MW battery-backed plant in Arizona

February 13, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
Solar cell producer First Solar has teamed up with Arizona Public Service to build one of the largest battery-back solar installations in the US.

First Solar will build and operate a facility with a 65MW solar field to charge a 50MW battery. APS has signed a 15-year power-purchase agreement with First Solar that will enable APS to use the stored battery power when energy use is at its peak later in the day.

By pairing clean solar energy with advanced battery technology, First Solar and APS will be able to store power when the sun is high in the sky and deliver it to customers between 3 and 8 pm when the sun is on its way down, but energy use is peaking. The site is sscheduled to begin service to customers in 2021 and will be built next to the existing APS Redhawk Power Plant in western Maricopa County.

The project adds to the more than one million solar panels and three grid-scale batteries currently on APS’s system. Over the next 15 years, APS plans to adopt more than 500 MW of additional battery storage.

“Partnering with an Arizona company such as First Solar to pair solar power with advanced battery storage is good for our customers and continues our state’s national leadership in clean energy innovation,” said Don Brandt, Chairman, President and CEO of APS.

“First Solar has long been a global leader in the deployment of utility-scale solar,” said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s Chief Executive Officer. “Through this innovative project we are excited to partner with APS to demonstrate the capabilities of solar coupled with large-scale battery storage. Together, these technologies highlight the significant role for solar in providing reliable, cost effective energy.”


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