APS unveils its largest utility-scale solar plant

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.