First Solar and APS to Create 50 MW Solar-fueled Battery

Arizona Public Service (APS) and First Solar plan to bring a 50-megawatt (MW) solar-fueled battery to the desert to deliver clean power to Arizona residents on hot summer days. APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties. The facility will be built directly adjacent to the existing APS Redhawk Power Plant in western Maricopa County.

With the project, Arizona will be home to one of the largest battery storage systems in the U.S. The design of the solar power storage project demonstrates how solar and power storage can work together to provide power to customers during peak hours. The Arizona utility provider has signed a 15-year power-purchase agreement with First Solar that will let APS use the stored battery power when energy use is at its peak between 3pm and 8pm.

First Solar and APS to Store Power When Sun Most Potent

Combining solar energy and battery technology will enable First Solar and APS to store power when the sunlight is at its most potent during the day and will let APS utilize the stored power when the sun is on its way down, but energy usage is peaking. So, the battery storage will allow customers of the Arizona utility company to get more of their power during peak usage periods from solar.

The project adds to the over one million solar panels and three grid-scale batteries that APS’s system currently uses. Over the next 15 years, the company plans to add more than 500 MW battery storage.

The project was developed in answer to APS’s demand for power resources to serve customers between the peak hours of 3 and 8 p.m. during the hot summer months. APS will have full use of the 50-MW battery and will be able to maximize hourly capacity until the battery is fully discharged. The facility is scheduled to begin bringing electricity to customers in 2021.