Solar power in Arizona

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Insolation on developable areas of the SW United States.

Solar power in Arizona has the potential to, according to then-Governor Janet Napolitano, make Arizona "the Persian Gulf of solar energy". In 2012, Arizona had 1,106 MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems, and 6 MW of concentrated solar power (CSP), bringing the total to over 1,112 megawatts (MW) of solar power. The Solana Generating Station is a 280 MW parabolic trough solar plant which is the largest plant of its type in the world.[1][2] Solana includes 6 hours of power storage by molten salt. The plant will provide 5% of the power from Arizona Public Service, the state's largest utility.

A Renewable Portfolio Standard set by the Arizona Corporation Commission requires 15% renewable energy by 2025 among regulated utilities, 4.5% of which must come from distributed renewable energy sources. As of January 30, 2013, 19 projects, with a total nameplate capacity of 13.450 gigawatts (GW) are actively seeking permission to build on federally owned BLM land in Arizona,[3][4] and one, the 300 MW Sonoran Solar Project has been approved.[5]

History[edit]

Solar Array
Arizona State University solar array

The first commercial solar power system in the state is the 1997 95 kilowatt (kW) single-axis tracking photovoltaic plant in Flagstaff, Arizona, operated by Arizona Public Service (APS). In 1999, the City of Scottsdale covered an 8,500 square feet (790 m2) parking lot with photovoltaic panels, to both provide shaded parking, and generate 93 kW of solar power. In 2001 APS and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University constructed a 190 kW single-axis tracking photovoltaic power plant.

In 2001, the Springerville Generating Station Solar System was built by Tucson Electric Power, one of the first large scale photovoltaic power stations. Originally 4.6 MW, it has been expanded to 6.4 MW.[6][7] In 2002, Love Field Airport, in Prescott, Arizona began construction of a 5 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic power plant. By July 2006, it had a peak capacity of 2.879 MWAC.[8][9]

The two operating concentrated solar power plants are the 1 MW Saguaro Solar Power Plant completed in 2005, the first commercial CSP plant of the 3rd millennium, and a 5 MW solar trough system at the University of Arizona Solar Tech Park project which was completed in 2011.[10] The 280 MW Solano Generating Station is under construction. The 1.5 MW Maricopa Solar Power Plant completed in 2010, using Stirling dish technology,[11][12] was decommissioned in September 2011 and sold at auction on April 17, 2012[13] to CondiSys Solar Technology of China, for $250,000.[14]

In 2008 Governor Janet Napolitano said that Arizona had the potential to become "the Persian Gulf of solar energy".[15] In 2012, the NREL determined that Arizona has the potential to install 5,147 GW of photovoltaic power plants, and/or up to 3,528 GW of concentrated solar power plants (CSP), sufficient to generate more than three times total US consumption in 2012.[16] According to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research, Arizona installed over 55 megawatts of solar power in 2010, doubling its 2009 increase of 21 MW, ranking it behind California (259 MW), New Jersey (137 MW), Florida (110 MW), and Nevada (61 MW).[17] By the end of 2011, Arizona had installed 383 MW of photovoltaics, in third place, behind New Jersey, and California.

In 2012 the first 100 MW of the Agua Caliente Solar Project was connected to the grid, making it the largest photovoltaic power plant in North America, and third largest in the world, being slightly larger than the 97 MW Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant. By July over 200 MW had been completed, making it the largest photovoltaic power plant in the world.[18] By September 2012, 250 MW (AC) had been completed.[19]

In January 2013, 150 MW of the 700 MW Mesquite Solar project photovoltaic power plant was completed.[20]

The Solana Generating Station completed testing in October 2013. The 280 MW parabolic trough solar plant is the largest plant of its type in the world.[1][2] Solana includes 6 hours of power storage by molten salt. The plant will provide 5% of the power from Arizona Public Service, the state's largest utility.

Historically, Arizona has had one of the most successful solar incentive programs in the United States. However, as of February, 2013, the Arizona Corporation Commission has completely eliminated commercial incentives and has severely reduced the amount of residential incentives available.[21] Still, some of the country's largest solar providers continue to do business in the state, including the largest solar contractor in the US, First Solar.[22]

Community solar farms[edit]

Main article: Community solar farm

Arizona has two community solar farms. Tucson Electric Power has a 1.6 MW community solar farm southeast of Tucson. Consumers can purchase 150 kWh for about $3/month. The 227 kW Trico Sun Farm in Marana allows Trico customers to purchase solar panels in one quarter increments for $920, and receive a credit of the output, about 36 kWh, each month for 20 years, worth about $5.[23] Customers can purchase up to their average usage for the last 12 months, up to 10,000 watts.[24]

Statistics[edit]

Capacity[edit]

Arizona Solar Capacity (MWp)[25][26][27][28][29][30]
Year Photovoltaics CSP
Capacity Installed % Change Capacity Installed % Change
2007 18.9 2.8 17 1 0
2008 25.3 6.2 34 1 0
2009 46.2 21.1 83 1 0
2010 110.0 63.6 138 2.5 1.5 150
2011 397.6 287.8 261 6 3.5 140
2012 1106.4 708.8 178 6 0 0
2013 1563.1 423.7 37 256 250 4200

Generation[edit]

Arizona solar electric generation:[31][32][33]

Year Generation
(GWh)
Generation
(% of total)
2010 16 0.01%
2011 83 0.08%
2012 955 0.86%
2013 2,041 1.85%

Large projects[edit]

MW Name County Location Technology Notes
397 Agua Caliente Solar Project Yuma County Palomas Plain
32°58′45″N 113°29′45″W / 32.97917°N 113.49583°W / 32.97917; -113.49583 (Agua Caliente Solar Project)[34]
photovoltaic 250 MW AC (roughly 300 MW DC) online September 2012[35]
150 Mesquite Solar project Maricopa County west of Arlington
33°20′N 112°55′W / 33.333°N 112.917°W / 33.333; -112.917 (Mesquite Solar project)[36]
photovoltaic 150 MW phase 1 completed January 2013,[37] up to 700 MW planned
280 Solana Generating Station Maricopa County southwest of Phoenix
32°55′N 112°58′W / 32.917°N 112.967°W / 32.917; -112.967 (Solana Generating Station)[38]
parabolic trough with 6 hours storage [39]

Proposed large projects[edit]

MW Name County Location Technology Notes
1,200 Sterling Solar Generating Facility Mohave County southeast of Needles, CA
34°45′N 114°25′W / 34.750°N 114.417°W / 34.750; -114.417 (Sterling Solar Generating Facility)[40]
photovoltaic [41][42]
340 Hualapai Valley Solar Project Mohave County Hualapai Valley
35°36′N 114°0′W / 35.600°N 114.000°W / 35.600; -114.000 (Hualapai Valley Solar Project)[43]
parabolic trough [44][45]
325 Hyder Valley Solar Energy Project Yuma County Palomas Plain
33°05′N 113°13′W / 33.083°N 113.217°W / 33.083; -113.217 (Hyder Valley)[46]
parabolic trough 200 MW phase 1, 125 MW phase 2
300 Sonoran Solar Project Maricopa County south of Buckeye
33°14′N 112°34′W / 33.24°N 112.56°W / 33.24; -112.56 (Sonoran Solar Energy Project)[47]
photovoltaic [48] Approved late 2011[49]
215 Crossroads Solar Energy Project Maricopa County west of Gila Bend
32°58′N 112°53′W / 32.96°N 112.89°W / 32.96; -112.89 (Crossroads Solar Energy Project)[50]
solar power tower with 10 hours of heat storage; 65 MW of PV [51][52][53]
100 Quartzsite Solar Energy Project La Paz County north of Quartzsite
33°48′N 114°12′W / 33.8°N 114.2°W / 33.8; -114.2 (Quartzsite Solar Energy Project)[54]
power tower [48]

Net metering[edit]

As of October 16, 2008, Arizona has one of the best net metering laws in the country. Excess generation is rolled over month to month, and any surplus is returned annually to the consumer at the avoided cost rate.[55] IREC best practices, based on experience, recommends perpetual roll over of kWh credits.[56]

Renewable Portfolio Standard[edit]

The Arizona Renewable Portfolio Standard calls for 15% renewable energy by 2025, and 4.5% (30% of that) from distributed generation from renewable sources. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), may be purchased to meet the requirement.[57]

Arizona Solar Business Directory[edit]

The Arizona Solar Business Directory[58] contains almost 100 solar installation companies that do business in Arizona and is maintained by the Arizona Solar Power Society. The business directory allows consumers and commercial customers to contact a number of different companies to get the best deal and best performing products in the solar industry.

Arizona Solar Watchdog Program[edit]

The purpose of the Arizona Solar Watchdog Program[59] is to teach consumers how to check a solar installation contractor's license, credentials and work history. Every contractor in Arizona needs to be registered with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.[60] Each contractor is issued a Registrar of Contractors' license number, which can be looked up using the step-by-step process outlined under the Arizona Solar Watchdog Program.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Solana, the largest solar power plant in the world
  2. ^ a b Davis, Tony (February 12, 2009). "Arizona: the West's solar source". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2009-05-30. 
  3. ^ Oseguera, Oso (July 7, 2010). "Sunny Mexico: An Energy Opportunity". Greentech Media. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  4. ^ Pending Solar Projects
  5. ^ Sonoran Solar Energy
  6. ^ Springerville Generating Station Solar System
  7. ^ Five Years of Operating Experience at the Springerville PV Generating Plant
  8. ^ APS Solar Power Plants
  9. ^ Prescott Airport Solar Power Plant
  10. ^ UA Tech Park Thermal Storage Demonstration Project
  11. ^ SRP 1.5 MW Maricopa Solar Plant – Peoria, Arizona
  12. ^ Stirling Dish Technology Report
  13. ^ Former Stirling power plant in Peoria to be sold, disassembled
  14. ^ Top bid on plant is $250K
  15. ^ Myers, Amanda Lee (February 22, 2008). "Huge solar power plant planned in Gila Bend by Spanish company". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-05-30. 
  16. ^ Renewable Energy Technical Potential
  17. ^ "U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2010 Year in Review (Executive Summary)" (link to PDF). SEIU & GTM. March 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 
  18. ^ Arizona solar plant reaches historic mark
  19. ^ World's Largest Operational Solar PV Project, Agua Caliente, Achieves 250 Megawatts of Grid-Connected Power
  20. ^ Sempra Completes first phase of Mesquite Solar Project
  21. ^ Mark Bissegger (March 13, 2013). "Arizona Takes Steps Towards Incentive Free Solar". ClearSky Advisors. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  22. ^ Solar Power World
  23. ^ Trico customers can buy power from 'sun farm'
  24. ^ SunWatts Sun Farm FAQs
  25. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  26. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 23. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  27. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 20. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  28. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  29. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  30. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  31. ^ "Electric Power Monthly with Data for December 2011". U.S. Energy Information Administration. February 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  32. ^ "Electric Power Monthly with Data for December 2012". U.S. Energy Information Administration. February 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  33. ^ "Electric Power Monthly with Data for December 2013". U.S. Energy Information Administration. February 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  34. ^ "Agua Caliente Solar Project". First Solar, Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  35. ^ "World's Largest Operational Solar PV Project, Agua Caliente, Achieves 250 Megawatts of Grid-Connected Power". 10 September 2012. 
  36. ^ "Mesquite Solar Energy Project". Sempra Generation. Retrieved 2011-02-06. 
  37. ^ "Sempra Generation contracts with PG&E for 150 mw of solar power". Sempra Energy. October 12, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-06. 
  38. ^ "About Solana Generating Station". Arizona Public Service (APS). Retrieved 2009-05-30. The plant will be located on the northwest corner of Interstate 8 (I-8) and Painted Rock Dam road. 
  39. ^ Big Solar Project Planned for Arizona Desert
  40. ^ "Sterling Solar Generating Facility Looks to File for Transmission Access" (PDF). Needle Mountain Power, LLC. January 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  41. ^ Adams, Suzanne (January 28, 2010). "Massive solar plant proposed for Havasu". Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  42. ^ Hanson, Jayne (July 4, 2010). "Estimates for solar project down by $1B". Today's News-Herald. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  43. ^ Dong, Mitchell (April 1, 2009). "Mitchell Dong - Alternative Energy Entrepreneur" (slideshow). Mohave Sun Power. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  44. ^ Adams, Suzanne (May 13, 2009). "Another solar plant on tap". Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  45. ^ Chilton, James (September 18, 2009). "P&Z OKs Hualapai Valley Solar plan". Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  46. ^ "Hyder Valley Solar Project". BLM. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  47. ^ "Sonoran Solar Energy Project". Bureau of Land Management (BLM). October 20, 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 
  48. ^ a b "US CSP Project Tracker". Greentech Media. May 13, 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 
  49. ^ Solar Development on Public Lands in Arizona
  50. ^ "Crossroads Solar Energy Project". SolarReserve. Retrieved 2011-02-06. 
  51. ^ Prior, Brett (February 9, 2011). "As One Solar Thermal Project Dies, Another is Born". Greentech Media. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  52. ^ "Project Overview". Crossroads Solar Energy Project. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  53. ^ "SolarReserve's 150MW AZ Solar Energy Project Approved". Crossroads Solar Energy Project. November 21, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  54. ^ "Quartzsite Solar Energy Project". BLM. February 2, 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 
  55. ^ Net Metering
  56. ^ Net Metering and Interconnection Procedures Incorporating Best Practices
  57. ^ Renewable Energy Standard
  58. ^ Arizona Solar Business Directory
  59. ^ Arizona Solar Watchdog Program
  60. ^ Arizona Registrar of Contractors

External links[edit]