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E.ON North America begins construction on first energy storage project

The Iron Horse solar-plus-storage project is E.ON North America's first energy storage offering. Source: E.ON

The North American subsidiary of Germany-headquartered international investor-owned energy supplier E.ON has begun construction on its first energy storage project.

The Iron Horse is a solar-plus-storage project comprised of 10MW lithium-ion batteries and an adjacent 2MW solar array. It is located in Tucson, Arizona at the University of Arizona’s Science and Technology Park, and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2017.

The project will provide voltage control and frequency response for the state’s national grid; balancing out the variable generation from the solar array, according to the 10-year agreement E.ON signed with local utility Tucson Electric Power (TEP) in July. In addition, the batteries will enable the grid to respond to shifts in power demand more quickly, increasing both system reliability and efficiency.

The enhanced grid stability provided by Iron Horse is just one of many services E.ON lends to TEP. It also provides energy to the utility from its 6.6MW Tech Park Solar and 13.2MW Valencia Solar facilities. E.ON also partnered with TEP on the turnkey construction of TEP's 17.2MW solar facility at the US Army's Fort Huachuca Army Base, near Sierra Vista, Arizona.

"Breaking ground on any project is exciting, but beginning construction on Iron Horse is especially exciting for us," said Steve Trenholm, President of E.ON Solar in a statement.  "Iron Horse is an important first step as E.ON establishes itself as a player in North American energy storage. We are looking forward to delivering cost-effective energy storage projects with the same high quality that our customers have come to expect from us in wind and solar."

"Iron Horse is just the first of several energy storage projects we are working on, and we look forward to further building E.ON as a player in the battery storage market," added Mark Frigo, vice president of Energy Storage North America at E.ON.

"Our team worked with TEP to engineer the right set of energy storage technologies to meet their needs to manage their system more efficiently and effectively, and we plan to work with our all our clients to customise solutions for their storage needs. We're excited to apply E.ON's utility storage expertise and proven track record of delivering projects on time and on budget to continue building a robust energy storage project portfolio."

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