- Arizona's Salt River Project plans to add 1 GW of new utility-scale solar energy to its system by the end of fiscal year 2025, and will be looking for battery storage to fit alongside the new renewable resources.
- The utility plans to build deliberately, adding approximately 200 MW of new solar annually through 2025, to ensure the grid remains reliable and to build on its growing solar operating experience. Customer requests for more renewable energy led SRP to the decision.
- The public power utility is already developing battery projects, including one alongside a small solar installation, but officials say by 2025 they will be looking to add more.
SRP's announcement marks a significant ramp-up in the utility's solar energy development pace, and highlights the growing influence of customers' preference for green power.
"Over the past several months, we have had discussions with residential customers and many of our larger commercial, industrial and municipal customers regarding their needs for sustainable resources," SRP CEO and General Manager Mike Hummel said in a statement.
Several customers asked the utility for assistance in meeting sustainability goals, and SRP says its investments will focus on utility-scale solar projects "that have higher solar capture efficiencies and therefore provide optimal value for our customers."
Companies are helping lead clean energy development in many areas: an August 3 report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance found corporate purchases of renewable energy easily set a record this year. As of this summer, corporate purchasing had reached 7.2 GW of clean energy, surpassing the 5.4 GW purchased in 2017.
SRP said its latest plan will accelerate both the pace and total capacity of its current solar energy resource development by 700 MW, compared to current resource plans during the same timeframe.
The utility is still considering how the new solar capacity will be allocated, but said it will "examine programs" to allocate the capacity to various customer groups, including community solar for residential customers.
The 1 GW of new solar SRP is planning will be in addition to the utility's 200 MW of existing solar resources, which include a 20 MW solar / 10 MW battery storage power plant located in Pinal County as well as 25 MW and 10 MW battery storage facilities in development in the Phoenix metropolitan area. SRP officials say they will likely be adding more.