TEP to Buy Solar Power for Historically Low Price

The Arizona utility signed a 20-year agreement to purchase electricity from a 100-megawatt solar facility at a new record low price. The solar project is slated for completion by the end of 2019.

Solar-4PP-for-sliderOn a site located inside Tucson Electric Power’s service territory south of the metropolitan area, a new 100-megawatt solar array and an accompanying 30-megawatt energy storage system will be built, owned and operated by an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources. TEP will buy solar energy from the facility at a historically low price from the system that is large enough to power 21,000 homes.

The site is owned by the City of Tucson. The solar system is expected to be in service by the end of 2019, which, together with a planned 100-megawatt wind project, will give TEP a renewable portfolio large enough to serve the annual electric needs of roughly one out of every three Tucson homes. Excluding the storage cost, TEP will pay for the system’s output for 20 years less than three cents per kilowatt hour, equating to less than half as much as it agreed to pay under similar contracts in recent years.

“This new local system combines cost-effective energy production with cutting edge energy storage, helping us provide sustainable, reliable and affordable service to all of our customers for decades to come,” Carmine Tilghman, senior director of energy supply and renewable energy for TEP, said in prepared remarks.

The system will become TEP’s largest dedicated renewable energy resource, surpassing the 80-megawatt Red Horse wind and solar system near Wilcox. NextEra Energy Resources will build and operate a long duration battery storage system on the site, capable of providing up to 120-megawatt-hours of power.

TEP committed to delivering at least 30 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2030, doubling the state’s 2025 goal. To meet the objective, TEP and a NextEra Energy Resources affiliate recently signed a PPA to build a new 100-megawatt wind facility, slated to begin commercial operation by the end of 2019. The energy company aims to make greater use of energy storage and added three battery storage systems to its local grid this year, including a 10-megawatt NextEra facility near Interstate 10 and West Grant Road, owned and operated by NextEra.

Image courtesy of TEP