The McNeal Solar Power and Battery Storage Project was just completed by Silicon Ranch and Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) in McNeal, Arizona. The solar power farm has a capacity of 20 MW and the battery electricity storage system capacity is 20 MW/80 MWh.
The new solar and energy storage will provide power service to about 3,000 households in southeastern Arizona.
Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative is Arizona’s largest electric cooperative and has over 59,000 power meters and 161 employees. Tennessee-based Silicon Ranch is a provider of renewable energy, carbon, and battery storage systems.
Currently, Arizona has enough solar power installed to power a little over one million homes.
Rob Hamilton, Silicon Ranch’s Director of Corporate Communications, answered some questions about the McNeal project for CleanTechnica.
What was the project cost?
Silicon Ranch invested more than $70 million to install the McNeal Solar Farm.
What is the battery chemistry?
The battery chemistry of the project is LFP, Lithium Iron Phosphate.
140 workers were used to build the installation, but how many are required to operate it?
One to three workers will be required to operate the installation.
What is the new substation for?
The new substation replaces an existing facility serving SSVEC members in the area and includes the interconnection infrastructure for the solar-plus-storage project. These facilities interconnect the McNeal Solar Farm with the grid so that SSVEC can distribute the solar energy to homes and businesses across its system.
How does the new solar and energy storage project support more stable electricity prices?
By signing a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Silicon Ranch, SSVEC has locked pricing for purchasing electricity from the McNeal solar project for the next 40 years, which will help keep prices stable. As a new power source, the McNeal project also adds more energy to the grid, increasing supply so that SSVEC is less likely to charge surplus pricing if demand increases.
Is there an estimate of how much carbon emissions will be avoided by going with solar power?
McNeal Solar Farm will avoid 644,428 metric tons CO2 emissions over 40 years (16,110 metric tons CO2 emissions annually for 40 years).
Where were the solar panels sourced?
The panels for the McNeal Solar Farm were sourced from Vietnam and Malaysia as part of our partnership with First Solar.
Since 2015, Silicon Ranch has worked with Arizona-based solar module developer First Solar as part of the company’s commitment to domestic manufacturing. First Solar’s solar modules are designed and developed within the United States and responsibly produced in the United States, Vietnam, and Malaysia. To date, Silicon Ranch and First Solar’s Master Supply Agreement has grown to 6.2 GW of advanced, responsibly produced thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. The expanded partnership with First Solar enables Silicon Ranch to continue to increasingly source American solar technology from a reliable industry leader with manufacturing facilities across the country. First Solar recently announced plans to build its fifth American photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility in Louisiana, further bolstering the domestic solar supply chain in the southeastern United States, a region in which Silicon Ranch pioneered utility-scale solar development.
About how long is the lifespan for the new facility in years?
The facility’s lifespan is expected to be at least 40 years.
What are the batteries contained in?
The batteries are contained in 30 20-foot shipping containers.
Are all the solar panels ground-mounted over land that was not being used for agriculture?
Yes, the land on which the McNeal project is situated was not being used for agriculture.
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