Arizona public power utility Salt River Project (SRP) has announced its largest standalone solar power project to date, a 400-megawatt (MW) facility scheduled to enter operation in 2024.
The CO Bar Solar project is sited on private land in Coconino County, Ariz. Clenara, a subsidiary of Enlight Renewable Energy, is contracted to build and operate the new solar plant. Construction is expected to begin in 2023 and to generate about 550 jobs, many of them local.
The project is the latest in a string of recent announcements aimed at supporting the public power utility’s long-term decarbonization goals.
In May, SRP said it would more than double its 2025 utility-scale solar commitment, raising the goal to 2,025 MW of utility-scale solar power that would be online by the end of fiscal year 2025.
In August, SRP announced three new solar energy plants capable of generating a total of 500 MW. The three projects include two 200-MW solar plants and a 100-MW solar facility. The first project is due online in fall 2022 and the other two will begin construction in 2022. Facebook has agreed to take 450 MW of the output of the projects.
With its commitment to add 2,025 MW of utility-scale solar resources by 2025 and its recent announcement of new solar projects, SRP anticipates that nearly 50 percent of the retail energy it delivers to customers will come from carbon-free resources by 2025, contributing to the utility’s goals to reduce carbon intensity by 65 percent in 2035 and by 90 percent in 2050 from 2005 levels.
SRP is also exploring the use of energy storage to help integrate intermittent solar resources into its grid with the recent announcement of a 25 MW battery storage facility at its Bolster substation as well as deals for solar-and-storage facilities scheduled to come online in June 2023.