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APS, First Solar partner to build largest solar-powered battery in Arizona

(AP Photo/Stephen Wandera)

PHOENIX — An alternative energy source will soon come to the Phoenix area, after Arizona Public Service and the Tempe-based First Solar partnered to build a 50-megawatt solar-powered battery in the West Valley.

Annie DeGraw, a spokeswoman with APS, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the battery will be fueled by a 65-megawatt solar field in Arlington, a small town about 50 miles west of Phoenix.

“This plant is being put together to help serve customers on hot summer days, during the peak hours from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” DeGraw said.

“That way we’re able to use solar — which is a fantastic resource, but can only be used at certain times of the day when the sun is shining — and we’re able to dispatch that solar…when our customers need it most.”

According to the Phoenix Business Journal, the partnership is part of a 15-year plan that will “involve more than 500 megawatts of battery-stored energy.”

DeGraw could not definitively say whether this move would save customers money, but said it will be another resource for customers who “have a lot of options” to save on their energy bill.

“We can harness the power of the sun, which is a low-cost resource, and push [energy] back out during hours when customers are getting home and can use that power the most,” she said.

The battery, once built, will be the largest in Arizona and one of the largest in the nation, DeGraw claimed. It is expected to be in operation by 2021.

KTAR News’ Nailea Leon and Jeremy Foster contributed to this report. 

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