APS teams with First Solar on plant with battery storage

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Arizona's largest electric utility is teaming with one of the nation's leading solar panel makers to develop a solar power field matched with battery storage.

Arizona Public Service Co. and Tempe-based First Solar announced Monday they will build the solar panel array and battery bank near the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Phoenix.

Matching battery storage with a utility-scale solar array means the plant will be able to provide power during the late afternoon and evening when it is most needed. The companies say the project will feature one of the largest battery storage systems in the nation when completed in 2021.

APS already has three grid-scale battery arrays storing solar energy and plans to install much more over the coming 15 years.

“Partnering with an Arizona company such as First Solar to pair solar power with advanced battery storage is good for our customers and continues our state’s national leadership in clean energy innovation,” said Don Brandt, Chairman, President and CEO of APS. 

For First Solar, the project represents the next step in solar energy. Utility-scale solar is a clean energy resource, and the addition of battery storage allows the power of the sun to be used in the evening when the energy is needed most. This is a logical use of technology in a state that sees nearly 300 days of sunshine per year. 

“First Solar has long been a global leader in the deployment of utility-scale solar,” said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s Chief Executive Officer. “Through this innovative project we are excited to partner with APS to demonstrate the capabilities of solar coupled with large-scale battery storage. Together, these technologies highlight the significant role for solar in providing reliable, cost effective energy.” 

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