Solar Plant In Arizona By 2013

Vivi Gorman
Posted on Sunday 31st May 2009

Arizona Public Service (APS) and Starwood Energy Group Global LLC have announced plans to construct a new solar plant west of Phoenix that will be one of the largest in the world and will produce enough electricity to power more than 73,000 homes.

The alternative energy facility, Starwood Solar I, is slated for completion in 2013. It will be owned by an affiliate of Starwood Energy and designed, built and operated by Lockheed Martin. All of the power generated by the facility will be provided to APS through a long-term purchase power agreement.

Starwood Solar I will be constructed on approximately 1,900 acres and include 3,500 parabolic mirrors that will focus solar thermal energy onto a heat transfer fluid. The hot fluid will convert water into steam, which then turns the plant’s turbines to create electricity, much like a traditional power plant. The plant also uses molten salt to store solar energy and continue producing electricity for up to six hours after the sun goes down – or through the period of highest electricity usage during hot Arizona evenings.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, has more than 157 megawatts of energy coming from a variety of renewable sources, including concentrating solar, photovoltaic solar, wind, biomass and geothermal.

The utility also recently launched a Solar Tour to bring the message of solar energy to Arizona as part of its mission of establishing Arizona as the solar capital of the world.

APS recently announced its APS Community Power Project in Flagstaff, Ariz., and the dedication of a new solar project providing energy at the Grand Canyon. APS is offering Flagstaff customers the opportunity to join a “free” pilot solar energy program under which APS will own and receive energy from solar panels installed on about 300 customer rooftops. Participating customers will receive an attractive 20-year fixed Community Power Rate for the solar portion of their electricity bill.

At the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, 84 solar panels are operating on the Center’s roof and on adjacent ground-mounted platforms. The panels provide enough energy to offset 30 percent of the Center’s electricity use.

The Starwood Solar I and other projects will make APS the provider of more solar electricity per customer than any utility in the country, APS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Don Brandt said.

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