Solar plant ready to meet energy needs
Yuma residents can now harness more of the sun's power.
That's because phase one of Arizona Public Service's 35-megawatt (MW) Foothills Solar Plant is powered up and began providing energy to the people of Yuma in March.
I'm out in the community quite a bit, and I speak with many business, community and opinion leaders. I am pleased the community agrees the addition of this solar plant is beneficial to the people of Yuma.
APS partnered with the Arizona State Land Department to create the first-ever solar project built on state trust land. The plant rests on nearly 400 acres in Yuma County and is being constructed by solar developer AMEC.
Foothills is APS's fifth, and largest, plant in the AZ Sun project and is the second AZ Sun plant in southwestern Arizona. The Hyder I plant, in east Yuma County, was completed last year.
Phase one of the Foothills Solar Plant will provide 17 MW of electricity. The remaining 18 MW is expected to reach commercial operation by the end of the year. The combined output can power 8,750 Arizona homes. All of the electricity produced by Foothills will serve Yuma customers.
The Foothills Solar Plant is unique because it brings a power plant into the city without the added impact that building an industrial facility would have. There is no drain on the water supply, fire or ambulatory services, roadways or the sewage system. Rather, APS is adding roadways and making other improvements.
Because Foothills is built on state trust land, it will serve as a revenue source to Arizona. APS will lease the state land for 35 years at a cost of approximately $10 million. Lease payments primarily will help fund Arizona public education. Not only will Foothills add a clean source of energy for Yuma, it's helping to ensure a bright future for our kids as well.
Solar helps our local economy, too. During construction, Foothills brought approximately 150 construction jobs to local workers who spent money at local businesses. The estimated local economic impact of the completed project will be $10 million to $20 million.
APS's commitment to solar in southwestern Arizona doesn't end with Foothills. Last September, we announced plans to construct a second AZ Sun facility in Hyder. Construction on Hyder II is expected to begin this month. The plant is expected to reach commercial operation in late 2013.
Like the Foothills project, Hyder II should bring about 150 construction jobs to the area, which can cause a positive rippling effect on Yuma's economy. The sun is indeed powerful in Yuma.
Andrea Bereznak is the business and community relations manager for APS. She can be reached at email@example.com.