Tucson-area electric co-op honing in on renewable energy with new solar farm | Business

Construction is underway on the Chirreon facility north of Tucson. The 90-acre solar and battery storage project, by Trico Electric Cooperative, is expected to begin producing power this summer. Video by: Mamta Popat

Customers of Marana-based Trico Electric Cooperative will soon be getting more clean power from a solar farm with battery storage the rural co-op is constructing west of North Oracle Road near Catalina.

Expected to go into operation in June, the Chirreon Solar and Battery Storage Facility will have a generating capacity of 10 megawatts of photovoltaic power and 15MW of battery storage to supply power when the sun goes down.

Once operational, the Chirreon facility will produce more than 30,000 megawatt-hours of energy each year or enough to power about 3,000 average residential homes, said Trico, a nonprofit co-op with about 50,000 members in rural parts of Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz counties.

Trico is partnering on the project with Virginia-based developer Torch Clean Energy and SOLV Energy, a California-based engineering and construction firm; with financing through CoBank, part of the US Farm Credit System.

Trico and its partners are not disclosing the cost of the Chirreon project. Nationally, the installed cost of 100MW utility-scale photovoltaic systems without storage averaged about $1 per watt, or about $1 million per megawatt, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Chirreon, being built on about 90 acres of state-owned land in the Trico service area on East Edwin Road, west of North Oracle Road, is Trico’s second major solar farm project and the first with battery storage.

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