PHOENIX – Residents of Buckeye interested in energy reform have often quoted the average 295 days of sunshine per year for where to find more electricity.
NextEra Energy Resources plans to take advantage of this sun.
The company plans to get around 260 megawatts of solar power from a panel project it is building, called the Sonoran Energy Project.
It will also have 260 megawatts of battery energy storage.
NextEra spokesperson Matt Eissey said construction on the project is about to begin. The 3,000-acre facility sits on land east of State Route 85, near the Riggs Road alignment.
“We plan to start construction in October, with the goal of bringing the project online in 2023,” Eissey said.
The project is expected to generate enough electricity to power about 91,000 typical Arizona homes, he said.
NextEra, based in Juno, Florida, has dozens of projects in 27 states. The company recently launched a project in Wisconsin.
According to the NextEra website, the company has two other major solar installations in Arizona, with peripheral wind or solar energy collection sites in the state.
The Pinal Central Solar installation is a 20 megawatt plant. There is also a Pima battery energy storage system.
NextEra has a total capital investment of $ 306.8 million in facilities in Arizona. The 22 jobs it has created create an annual payroll of $ 1.1 million, according to the company. It contributes nearly $ 1 million in annual property taxes and almost $ 750,000 in annual property payments.
Eissey said the Sonoran Project in Buckeye will be one of the largest projects of its kind in Arizona. The factory will be managed by 15 employees.
“Batteries store solar energy and can distribute it to the grid and to customers when it’s needed most, even when the sun isn’t shining,” Eissey said. “By way of comparison, our Pinal Energy Center is already showing the interest of solar coupled with batteries, but on a smaller scale (20 MW solar and 10 MW storage).
A subsidiary of NextEra will build, own and operate the Sonoran energy project, Eissey said. The project will generate renewable energy for the Salt River project and its customers under a power purchase agreement.
The project covers approximately 3,000 acres of federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Arizona State Trust land, and private land. Eissey said construction will create around 500 jobs to build the project over a 24-month period.
“Our company is always looking to hire locally as much as possible, and the project will also create jobs and economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs, hotels, restaurants and other suppliers,” Eissey said.
The NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary takes full financial responsibility for the development, construction, operation and decommissioning of the project, Eissey said, so there should be no financial burden on local residents.
Eissey said solar is part of a long-term strategy to cut costs and avoid waste and environmental damage in power generation. It is not a method that pays for itself right away, but in the longer term there are many local incentives.
“In the first 35 years of the project’s operation, we expect it will generate approximately $ 17.5 million in new tax revenue that can help improve local roads, schools and essential services,” he said. -he declares.