The Pinal Central Solar Energy Center (PCSEC), a solar PV facility paired with a battery storage system, has been installed in Arizona through a partnership with NextEra Energy Resources and Salt River Project (SRP), a community-based, nonprofit public power utility in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

The 20 MW solar photovoltaic generation facility is Arizona’s largest utility-scale solar energy center paired with a battery storage system, the partners claim. It will generate enough solar energy to power 5,000 homes and will store excess energy in a 10 MW lithium-ion battery storage system.

Solar generation starts to ramp down in the late afternoon, when SRP customers are typically using energy at the highest level. With this battery system, the stored energy will be available to customers during that critical time, the partners explain.

PCSEC, made up of 258,000 solar panels on 257 acres of land east of Casa Grande, represents the first of three grid-scale battery storage projects slated to connect to SRP’s system.

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“The project’s design allows SRP to utilize solar and battery storage together to optimize clean energy output to benefit our customers,” says Mike Hummel, SRP’s general manager and CEO. “In addition, the plant will assist SRP in meeting our goals for renewable energy while reducing carbon emissions.”

SRP will purchase all of the energy produced at the plant, which is owned and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources.

This project brought more than 150 construction jobs to the area, as well as four full-time positions. It will generate over $7 million in additional revenue for Pinal County over its operational lifetime.

The SRP board has set a goal to meet 20% of the utility’s retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020. Currently, SRP is on schedule to meet that goal by using solar, wind, geothermal and hydro and energy efficiency measures. Additionally, SRP has set a goal to reduce the amount of carbon-emissions intensity 33% by 2035.

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