Over the course of the next seven years, by the year 2025, #Salt River Project is going to hugely increase the amount of #solar #energy its utility uses. According to officials, this solar move is going to save money and lessen the dependence on natural gas.
Aggressive Solar Moves
Salt River Project officials intend to add a substantial amount of solar to this system – 1,000 megawatts, to be exact. For a point of reference, today’s numbers for the system sit around 200 megawatts. The amount of solar being added is the maximum amount the Salt River Project can put into service, according to CEO Mike Hummel, without the solar energy impacting the company’s coal-fired power plants and the grid. As per Hummel, the move on renewables is aggressive, but he believes it will work.
If you are not familiar with numbers regarding solar energy, it can become a bit difficult to comprehend the changes being made. But look at it this way – 250 homes could be powered through one megawatt of solar capacity. This means the addition of solar energy to the system is going to be enough to provide roughly a quarter million homes with power (while the sun is out). The increase for Salt River Project, clearly, is quite substantial.
Customers have installed approximately 180 megawatts of solar on the #SRP system, and this number will likely increase to roughly 300 megawatts, as per Hummel.
Exploring Solar Options
In accordance with Hummel, Salt River Project had started to explore the total amount of solar energy that could be accommodated on the power grid, and this is how the solar increase plan came to light. Power demand peaks at roughly 7,000 megawatts for Salt River Project customers during the hottest hours.
Salt River Project serves a lot of people – roughly one million customers, to be exact. The addition of 1,000 megawatts of solar to their system is being done completely on their own accord, and without spending money on public relations schemes. It is not regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission. It is interesting to note that Salt River Project contributed thousands of dollars to the anti-Prop. 127, but otherwise stayed away from the initiative which would have required utility companies to produce half of their power from clean sources (such as wind and solar) by the year 2030. Yet now, SPR is going to massively increase its use of #solar power.
According to Salt River Project spokesman #Scott Harelson, the reason the plan was not presented until now had nothing to do with the defeat of Proposition 127, but was because the plan was not ready. He very specifically stated, “This plan doesn’t have anything to do with Prop. 127.”
Salt River Project does have its own board of directors and the ability to create its own goals. It is not regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission (this commission is requiring many companies to get 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources, such as solar, by the year 2025). Consequently, SRP has been criticized by many for not moving fast to develop renewable energy, but they will be getting 16 percent of their energy supply from clean, renewable sources by 2025. A good portion of this energy supply will come just from solar power.
A Big Impact for the Environment
Basically, Salt River Project has created a flexible system that is able to take on solar generation. SRP has demonstrated the desire to purchase low-cost energy, and solar is becoming less expensive than other power sources. The move toward solar makes total sense. As a matter of fact, according to SRP senior director of corporate strategy, Hank Courtright, the move to solar is going to cut more than five million tons of carbon emissions from coming into the atmosphere through the year 2030. This is comparable to removing one million vehicles from the road for one year.
Continue to follow solar news to stay in the know regarding changes being made. Have you seen any developments in terms of solar and clean energy in your neighborhood? How could you “go green” to improve our planet? There are so many improvements coming to light, and it will be interesting to see where things go in regard to solar power and other renewable energy sources all across the globe.