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Desert provides a home for energy storage

A pair of 2-MW AES Advancion energy storage arrays will provide enough storage capacity to power 1,000 homes

The energy storage arrays are lowered onto the Arizona desert
The energy storage arrays are lowered onto the Arizona desert

The Arizona energy storage project is part of APS' Solar Partner Programme

It is anticipated that Arizona's energy needs will be 25 per cent higher by 2025

Arizona Public Service (APS) has teamed up with AES Energy Storage to deploy a 4-megawatt (MW) battery-based energy storage system in the desert as part of the APS Solar Partner Program (SPP).


The pair of 2-MW AES Advancion energy storage arrays which will provide enough storage capacity to power 1,000 homes, represents AES’ first installation in the county, and is among the first utility-owned. Installation began in November 2016 and they are expected to become operational in early 2017.


APS’s Solar Partner Programme (SPP) studies the use of smart inverters and energy storage to examine how best to integrate solar onto the grid in areas with a high penetration of solar while still maintaining reliability for customers.


Through SPP, more than 1,500 customers had photovoltaic rooftop solar panels, totalling 10 MW, installed on their homes at no charge, and receive a $30 monthly bill credit for the next 20 years for their participation. The information APS gains from this study will help craft what the future of renewable energy integration looks like for utilities across the country.


The Advancion battery arrays will be installed in Surprise and Buckeye, which have a total of 120 SPP customers and a high penetration of solar. The batteries will deliver energy to customers at the time of day when electricity is in the greatest demand and is most expensive. By bringing energy storage to these areas, APS can maintain reliable service for solar customers, even when the sun is down and solar panels are no longer producing power.


“The best renewable energy is the type a customer never thinks about. A light goes on, a load of towels gets washed and life goes on as reliably as ever before, all powered by the sun,” said Scott Bordenkircher, director of technology innovation, APS. “This is the future APS looks toward as it studies energy storage.


“The customer of the future’s home will be powered by resources that are cleaner and smarter. Using initiatives such as the Solar Partner Programme, we are studying how best to deploy advanced technology to better integrate clean energy while maintaining reliability and cost effectiveness for our customers.”


APS anticipates Arizona’s energy needs will be approximately 25 per cent higher by 2025. The company said it plans to meet 50 per cent of that growth with renewable energy and energy efficiency.


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