It is human nature to crave power, be it Alexander the Great’s conquests of the Mediterranean and beyond, the rigorous training sessions weightlifters put themselves through or your favorite show on STARZ. If you’re Salt River Project (SRP), you crave not only electrical power, but its retention, too.
In this quest for power, the utility cooperative has made a major play, with plans to construct a project the likes of which Arizona has never seen. The Sonoran Energy Center will be 250 MW, 1,000 MWh battery project, located in Little Rainbow Valley, south of Buckeye. What a collection of truly excellent town names. Sonoran will be the largest battery system in the state of Arizona and among the largest this country has ever seen.
SRP also announced the Storey Energy Center, a solar and energy storage system coming to Coolidge, AZ with 88 MW of solar and energy storage capacity. Oddly, SRP did not expand on that capacity, but it is likely that the 88 MW are the solar generation capacity, with the storage system being a four-hour battery, meaning it would be 352 MWh.
That project is impressive in its own right, but being announced on the same day as Sonoran makes it feel like the equivalent of scoring a game-winning touchdown on the same day that your brother lands on the moon.
Both the Sonoran and Storey Energy Centers are set to come online by June 2023 and will be owned and operated by subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources.
Let’s get some perspective as to how large the Sonoran project is. The world’s largest announced lithium ion batteries are the 316 MW / 2528 MWh Ravenwood project in New York City, the 409 MW / 900 MWh FPL facility in Florida, the 300 MW / 1200 MWh system by Vistra Energy, and a 182.5 MW / 730 MWh system by Tesla at Moss Landing facility in California, and the recently announced 300 MW / 1.2 GWh Eland facility by 8minute Solar Energy feeding Los Angeles. So while Sonoran is not the largest, it will become a proud and prominent member of the Big Boy Battery Club (trademark pending).
While having a bit over 200 MW of solar capacity to its utility name thus far, SRP is on the hunt to change that number – and fast. The co-op is looking to add 1,000 MW of new utility-scale solar energy to its portfolio by the end of 2025. So far, we know of a 100 MW plant in Eloy by sPower, a 100 MW plant, also in Coolidge by NextEra Energy Resources, a 250 MW project with storage near Buckeye, which will likely feed Sonoran, the aforementioned 88 MW Storey Energy Center and another 100 MW plant that is so juvenile that it is shrouded in mystery.
All these projects will add considerable capacity to the state with the 3rd most capacity in the country at 3,873 MW. With Florida and Texas adding more and more capacity by the day, it looks like SRP is doing all that it can to maintain Arizona’s considerable utility-scale solar status. Residential solar in Arizona is a story for another time.
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: email@example.com.
What does this mean to the monthly electric bill of every resident?
“Residential solar in Arizona is a story for another time.”
APS the other large utility player in Arizona has just changed its rate plans for residential once again. The demand charges are going up and times of the day when TOU rate spiking takes effect is during the late afternoon to early evening from around 3 PM to 8 or 9 PM. A good way to dilute the value of solar PV installed on ones roof. This will push the adopters to install energy storage with smart algorithms to program around TOU and use off peak energy for later higher rate electricity during the early morning hours.
I wish the magazine would provide more technical details, especially as related to economics. Since this installation mentions Tesla, I can only guess that the cells are Li-ion. If so, I wonder why because my recent battery purchase is costing only half as the Li chemistry for a given usable capacity.
@Robert Munzner: You can glean some technical details from previous articles here and in other publications. TESLA hasn’t always been the ‘master’ of deep dives into the tech it uses for its utility scale battery packs. Now TESLA is claiming the Megapack, a 1.5MW/3MWh power block can be installed to create a 250MW/1GWh energy storage system in three months on three acres. Even the more advanced lead/carbon plate/acid batteries can’t compete with current lithium ion for energy density and temperature operations. Lead/acid technology still has that problem with low temperatures de-rates the actual charge/discharge rate, much more than Li. Lithium Ion chemistries can discharge to 70 to 80% DoD, where lead/acid is still stuck with 50% DoD to insure longevity of the battery pack. The first large TESLA energy storage system constructed at the Neoen wind farm in Australia in 2017, it is said at that project size 100MW/129MWh, the battery cost was $207/kWh. The economies of scale is pushing down the price of utility scale energy storage. The unfortunate thing here is actual online real world experience with these ESS units. I don’t think there has been anyone who has adopted the containerized lithium ion ESS has had one online for a decade yet. It’s all still so new, the O&M hasn’t even been able to shake down, expected failures, the failure rates, the cost of R&R during O&M or what a “regular” O&M period is supposed to be.
Thanks so much for your detailed reply. The $207/KWh was the number I was particularly looking for.
By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.
Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.
You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.
Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.