APS Arizona Sun Program adds nine solar plants over five years

Arizona solar utility

More than one million solar panels are now live in the Arizona desert producing clean power for APS customers (Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility). These photovoltaic panels are part of the APS AZ Sun Program, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year.

The program has experienced many successes along the way. The one million panels – most of which maximize energy production with trackers – have produced more than 1 billion kWh since the first APS plant came on line in 2011.

“Our customers don’t typically give much thought to the energy we produce and send to their homes; they just want that light to turn on at the flip of a switch,” said Mark Schiavoni, APS Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “But on hot summer days, when our customers are using the most amount of energy, we need generation resources that can match their energy demands and ensure continued reliability in every corner of the state. Our AZ Sun Program and its nine solar plants are delivering exactly what they were meant to on sunny days – electricity from sun up to sun down.”

RELATED: Are Solar Trackers Right for Your Next Project? 

APS owns and operates the facilities, which were designed and constructed by third-party solar developers, contractors and equipment providers. Nearly 2,000 jobs were created during the construction of the nine plants.

With summer fast approaching, one of the primary benefits of grid-scale solar will be put on center stage – its ability to continue to generate power in the afternoon. In 2015, APS customers consumed the highest amount of electricity at 5 p.m. on August 15. When this energy spiked, APS continued to receive 140 MW from AZ Sun plants – 80 percent of their 170 MW capacity.

“We monitor the system around the clock to ensure we always have enough power to meet the energy needs of our customers,” Schiavoni said. “When we’re talking about a peak of more than 7,000 MW in one single moment, that 140 MW might not seem like a lot. But it’s invaluable. And, it’s Arizona generated solar power – what could be better?”

The nine APS AZ Sun Solar Power Plants include:

Paloma, 2011

17 MW
Located in Gila Bend, Ariz.
279,720 solar panels
Solar developer: First Solar
Cotton Center, 2011

17 MW
Located in Gila Bend, Ariz.
93,072 solar panels
Solar developer: Solon
Hyder I, 2012

16 MW
Located in Hyder, Ariz.
69,770 solar panels
Solar developer: SunEdison
Chino Valley, 2012

19 MW
Located in Chino Valley, Ariz.
77,463 solar panels
Solar developer: SunEdison
Foothills, 2013

35 MW
Located in Yuma, Ariz.
182,400 solar panels
Solar developer: AMEC
Hyder II, 2013

14 MW
Located in Hyder, Ariz.
70,720 solar panels
Solar developer: McCarthy
Gila Bend, 2014

32 MW
Located in Gila Bend, Ariz.
171,520 solar panels
Solar developer: Black & Veatch
Desert Star, 2015

10 MW
Located in Buckeye, Ariz.
50,797 solar panels
Solar developer: McCarthy
Luke AFB, 2015

10 MW
Located on Luke Air Force Base
50,797 solar panels
Solar developer: McCarthy Building Co.

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