APS Installs Energy Storage Under Solar Program

Arizona Public Service (APS) is bringing battery-based energy storage to the desert through a 4 MW energy storage agreement with AES Energy Storage. The pair of 2 MW AES Advancion energy storage arrays, which are expected to provide enough storage capacity to power 1,000 homes, will be deployed as part of the APS Solar Partner Program (SPP) and represent AES’ first installation in Arizona.

The utility’s SPP studies the use of smart inverters and energy storage to examine how best to integrate solar onto the grid in areas with a high penetration of solar while still maintaining reliability for customers. Through SPP, more than 1,500 customers had photovoltaic rooftop solar panels, totaling 10 MW, installed on their homes at no charge, and receive a $30 monthly bill credit for the next 20 years for their participation.

“The best renewable energy is the type a customer never thinks about. A light goes on, a load of towels gets washed and life goes on as reliably as ever before – all powered by the sun,” says Scott Bordenkircher, APS’ director of technology innovation. “This is the future APS looks toward as it studies energy storage.”

The two Advancion battery arrays will be installed in Surprise and Buckeye, Ariz., which have a total of 120 SPP customers and a high penetration of solar. The batteries will deliver energy to customers at the time of day when electricity is in the greatest demand and is most expensive. By bringing energy storage to these areas, APS says it can maintain reliable service for solar customers, even when the sun is down and solar panels are no longer producing power.

APS anticipates Arizona’s energy needs will be approximately 25% higher by 2025. The company plans to meet 50% of that growth with renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“The customer of the future’s home will be powered by resources that are cleaner and smarter,” says Bordenkircher. “Using initiatives such as the Solar Partner Program, we are studying how best to deploy advanced technology to better integrate clean energy while maintaining reliability and cost effectiveness for our customers.”

In 2015, AES opened up the Advancion platform to third-party ownership, and this project with APS will be among the first utility-owned Advancion battery storage arrays.

“Energy storage offers Arizona Public Service a powerful, flexible tool for their network as they procure more of their energy from renewable sources,” says AES Energy Storage President John Zahurancik. “We’re pleased to partner with APS in adding Advancion to the local grid, setting up the Solar Partner Program for future growth and delivering clean, reliable, and affordable electricity to their customers.”

Installation of the pair of 2 MW Advancion energy storage arrays began in November; they are expected to become operational in early 2017.


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