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APS Reaches Major Solar Milestone; Tops Gigawatt of Solar Energy

Oct. 12, 2016
Diverse solar portfolio benefits all customers

This summer, APS surpassed one gigawatt of solar energy capacity, becoming the only utility outside of California to achieve this milestone. When generating at full power, this capacity meets the partial daytime needs of 250,000 Arizona homes. The company’s total investment in solar energy is approximately $2 billion.

APS’s solar portfolio is almost an even split between rooftop systems and grid-scale projects, with 551 megawatts coming from rooftop systems and 499 megawatts coming from grid-scale projects.

“APS customers benefit from the fact that when you include energy from APS’s other renewable energy sources — wind, geothermal, biomass and biogas – and the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, nearly half of all the power on APS’s system is carbon-free,” said Tammy McLeod, APS Vice President of Resource Management. “A cleaner energy mix is a top priority for us, with solar playing an important role.”

APS receives its grid-scale solar generation from a combination of APS-owned systems and power purchase agreements. Through its AZ Sun Program, APS owns and operates nine solar plants across Arizona. These plants were designed and constructed by independent solar developers, contractors and equipment providers, and provide 170 megawatts of capacity. The rest of APS’s grid-scale solar comes from independently owned power plants across Arizona with long-term agreements to sell power to APS.

Most of the power from rooftop solar comes from systems owned by homeowners or leasing companies. APS owns ten megawatts. The APS-owned systems are strategically placed on customer homes in a way that allows the company to engage in research and development activities on how solar and other advanced technologies, such as smart inverters and battery storage, impact the ability of the utility to provide reliable and safe energy for customers.

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