Arizona Public Service (APS) unveiled its largest utility-scale solar plant to date last week, a 40-MW plant that will supply power to Arizona State University (ASU) and PayPal.
The Red Rock Solar Plant eclipsed APS’s 35-MW Foothills Solar Plant near Yuma, Ariz., as the utility’s largest. APS developed the project in conjunction with ASU and PayPal, after both committed to purchasing the electricity produced at the site. Both organizations were looking to lower their carbon footprint.
ASU’s participation boosts their commitment to solar energy which began with 25 MW on-campus solar sites. PayPal joined the partnership to keep up with its ever-growing energy needs, as well as provide high-profile leadership for the solar revolution for the state.
“We are very pleased that the Red Rock Solar Plant will more than double our solar generating capacity to more than 50 MW,” said Morgan R. Olsen, ASU executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. “This project enables us to expand our solar portfolio substantially with no initial capital investment and underscores our sustainability commitment.”
The Red Rock Solar Plant is c0- located with APS’s Saguaro Natural Gas Power Plant, in part because transmission lines were already in place. Red Rock will sit on 400 acres of land APS has owned for nearly 60 years. Since the development, the land is worth more and will create.
APS will own and operate the 40-megawatt photovoltaic plant.
APS’ unveiling comes on the heels last month of a controversial Arizona Corporation Commission net-metering ruling that could severely limit rooftop-solar development in the state. APS fought in favor of the net-metering decision, which gives more control over solar energy to the state’s utilities and allows them to levy specific charges solely on solar customers to recoup what it calls a “cost-shift” to non-solar consumers.
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Whether or not global warming is entirely or largely due to human use of carbon for fuel, the reduction of the dependence on carbon makes sense for reducing asthma in children; reducing black lung disease; reducing the production of coal ashes, residues, and effluents; reducing the impact of carbon greenhouse gasses; reducing pipeline failures; reducing coal and oil surface transport accidents; reducing pipeline-related warfare; and reducing air pollution.
The solution is to conserve energy intelligently, to electrify that which can be intelligently electrified, and to get the electricity from non-carbon sources. This will involve individuals making changes that make externality-blind payback a secondary consideration.
The individuals that need to make such changes could involve some that are reading this.
The photo included of the PV solar on parking garage at ASU does not have anything to do with the 40 MW dessert project on 400 acres! A photo more reflective of the planned APS Red Rock Facility would have been more appropriate.
Believe me when I tell you, Ray, I would have loved to have run a picture of the Red Rock Facility, or the gas plant it’s near. But despite searching on various websites, search engines, etc, I couldn’t find a one. The ASU parking garage story is related, however. One of the offtakers of the electricity from the new array is ASU. As the story says (and the rep from ASU says), the electricity from Red Rock will supplement their robust solar installations ON campus, of which this is one.
We try to pair the stories and the art closely so they support themselves as much as possible, but sometimes it is impossible to do it. After that, we do the best we can.
Thanks for your input!
So just so I get this, and let me know all of you if I’m wrong. But APS as well as many other utilities are enriching themselves with solar, at the expense of their customers. By limiting their customers ability to be so more self-sufficient with rooftop solar, and making their customers dependent on utility supplied electricity, with the Arizona corporate commission’s full knowledge of this rip off.
In addition no one seems to be speaking up about using good bottom land or land that could be used for farming, in the future, for the installation of solar panels now. Farmland is usually used for these solar installations because it’s basically just easier to put the panels up on dry flat land versus on top of somebody’s house or building.
Here in Tucson, Tucson electric power is installing many megawatts of ground-based solar mounts. And the customers who already have installed solar, are paying added line fees now to pay for these new utility installations.
That some might argue this isn’t true,i’ll simply reply that when Tucson electric installed everybody’s utility service to their homes, this expense to the utility was already calculated into the cost of the utilities bonds. With the shift to PV technology, that the electric utilities did not anticipate, The utilities realized later that the bondholders would not be made whole. Too bad. If the airlines have a change in technology and the various air carriers don’t adjust they are allowed to go bankrupt.
In this case the utilities use the case for PV Line fee increases to existing PV customers which funds the installation of huge megawatt solar fields. So, instead of customers receiving rebates and Net Metering the utilities receive rebates from the federal government and use those to pay off the bondholders which appear to be paid for by the people that already have installed solar.
So the people that already have installed solar are also subsidizing other non-solar customers and the utility.
Nice going ACC and Tucson Electric!
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