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Longroad achieves financial close on Arizona solar-plus-storage project acquired from First Solar

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Longroad Energy has achieved financial close on a large-scale solar-plus-storage in Arizona, part of a portfolio it acquired from vertically integrated solar manufacturer First Solar.

Renewable energy developer Longroad announced the financial closing this morning and added that construction has begun on its Sun Streams 4 project. Sun Streams 4 will feature 377MWdc of ground mount solar PV, and a 300MW/1,200MWh battery energy storage system (BESS).

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Despite the numbering, the project is actually the third in Longroad’s Sun Streams complex of solar PV and batteries. The previous addition, Sun Streams 3, achieved financial close in January, with energy storage system integrator Powin signed up to provide that plant’s 215MW/860MWh BESS, which will be paired with 285MWdc of solar PV.

As reported by Energy-Storage.news at the time, as construction began on Sun Streams 3, Longroad CEO Paul Gaynor called Arizona an “important growth market”. The company claimed to have 4GW of projects in operation or development in the state, and signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with utility Arizona Public Service (APS) for Sun Streams 3.  

The developer said today that APS has signed up as off-taker for Sun Streams 4 via another PPA. Sun Streams 3 will go online next year, while Sun Streams 4’s expected start of commercial operations will be in mid-2025.

Paul Gaynor said back at the start of this year that the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the incentives it brought in for clean energy development and manufacturing would open up the market to even bigger and better things.

Today, the CEO said Sun Streams 4 will be one of Longroad’s “first projects to incorporate provisions from the historic Inflation Reduction Act”.

PV modules from First Solar, BESS by Powin

Longroad acquired the Sun Streams portfolio from the development arm of US thin-film PV manufacturer First Solar in 2021. Along with Sun Streams 3 and Sun Streams 4, there is also the already-operational Sun Streams 2, which is a standalone 200MWdc solar PV plant that went online in mid-2021.

First Solar has provided the modules for the other projects and this relationship continues with Sun Streams 4, set to be equipped with the manufacturer’s Series 6 Plus modules. In fact, as reported by PV Tech in September, Longroad Energy has signed supply contracts for 8GW of modules with First Solar since 2017, extending the deal to add another 2GW last month.

Other contractors and suppliers have been retained for the full Sun Streams portfolio too.

Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor McCarthy Building Companies has been selected for the new project as well as the previous two.

Powin returns as BESS provider and integrator. As with Sun Streams 3, Powin will integrate battery cells from AESC into the plant, as well as energy storage inverters and power conversion system (PCS) equipment from SMA.

On the solar side of the installation, inverters will be provided once again by Sungrow and trackers by Nextracker. Operations and maintenance (O&M) duties will be carried out by Longroad and affiliate Longroad Energy Services, together with O&M provider NovaSource Power Services. Powin will also be involved in O&M on the battery system.  

Rising Arizona

Arizona Public Service will use both the contracted solar-plus-storage systems to store solar generated during the daytime to manage peak demand.

They will also be important contributors to APS’ integration of renewable energy into its energy mix, with the utility targeting 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050 and 45% renewable energy by 2035.

“Arizona is experiencing rapid growth and development, and with the demands of our hot summer months, APS customers will continue to count on reliable power as we invest in additional energy resources,” APS VP for resource management Justin Joiner said today.

Arizona, one of the US’ desert southwest ‘hotspots’ for solar has also become one of the country’s rising markets for solar-plus-storage and standalone energy storage.

In October alone, Energy-Storage.news and PV Tech reported on projects from fellow Arizona utility Tucson Electric Power (TEP), which is building the 200MW/800MWh Roadrunner Reserve standalone BESS, the completion of an US$1.8 billion financing by BESS developer Plus Power for 2.78GWh of projects in Arizona and Texas and the launch of plans for a solar-plus-storage project by utility cooperative AEPCO which will feature “up to” 940MWh of battery storage.

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