Silicon Ranch has completed a 20 MWac solar farm with an 80 MWh storage system for a not-for-profit, member-owned distribution cooperative based in southeastern Arizona. The McNeal Solar Farm and battery energy storage system (BESS) will aid Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) in meeting increasing load demand and the power needs for more than 3,000 households across the region.
At a community ribbon-cutting event to celebrate completion of the project, SSVEC CEO Jason Bowling said the system improves system integrity.
“The McNeal solar and battery storage project allows SSVEC to increase the amount of affordable, renewable energy for our members, while supporting system reliability and promoting energy independence,” Bowling said. “As the largest electric cooperative in Arizona, providing our members with safe, reliable, and affordable power is our number one priority, and our new partnership with Silicon Ranch helps us deliver against this important mission to benefit our members and the communities we serve.”
Over the past few years, SSVEC has shifted most of its energy procurement from coal to natural gas, hydropower and solar power. The completion of the McNeal solar-plus-storage facility is a significant step toward reliability, energy independence and stable electricity prices. By working with Silicon Ranch, SSVEC has been able to expand its renewable energy portfolio thoughtfully and responsibly as it prepares to meet growing demand across its service territory. Moreover, by integrating 80 MWh of battery storage into the facility, SSVEC has more capacity to meet increasing load demand throughout the day and into the evening.
Silicon Ranch developed and funded the project and hired more than 140 craft workers to build the facility. The company will also serve as the long-term owner and operator, a disciplined approach Silicon Ranch takes with every project it develops. As both the landowner and operator, Silicon Ranch will remain invested in and committed to the continued success and economic viability of the surrounding community. The company invested more than $70 million to install the McNeal Solar Farm, and over the years to come, the project will generate significant new tax revenues for Cochise County to support local infrastructure and schools, among other community-identified priorities.
“At Silicon Ranch, our number one priority is to promote stronger, healthier and more resilient communities through the work that we do, and this mission aligns perfectly with the ethos of America’s electric cooperatives,” said Reagan Farr, Co-Founder and CEO of Silicon Ranch. “We are honored to expand this important work with SSVEC as we celebrate the start of a new chapter in its 85-year history of service to southeastern Arizona.”
In addition to 20 MWac of solar and 80 MWh of BESS, the McNeal site also features a new substation, which replaces an existing facility serving SSVEC members in the area and includes the interconnection infrastructure for the solar-plus-storage project. These facilities interconnect the McNeal Solar Farm with the grid so that SSVEC can distribute the solar energy to homes and businesses across its system.
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