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SRP will see a major expansion of solar power from huge project near Flagstaff


Utility Salt River Project has inked another deal for more solar power with a company operating near Flagstaff. Along with an earlier contract, the two agreements will provide roughly one gigawatt of electricity once operational in 2025 — enough power for about 180,000 average-sized homes.

Both contracts, of roughly the same size, are with Clēnera, a subsidiary of Enlight Renewable Energy of Israel. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The solar power will come from the CO Bar Solar project, a 1.2 gigawatt solar and storage complex that will occupy up to 2,400 acres on Babbitt Ranches, private land in Coconino County, northwest of Flagstaff. Construction on CO Bar Solar is set to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023 and is expected to reach commercial operation in phases throughout 2025.

“This is not only the largest solar plant in Arizona and one of the largest in the United States, but it will also be the most significant solar resource in SRP’s energy portfolio,” said Jim Pratt, SRP’s CEO, in a prepared statement.

“SRP will be quadrupling the amount of utility-scale solar on our power system in just the next two years, with CO Bar Solar as a key part of this,” Pratt said. He added that nearly half of all energy delivered to SRP customers by the end of 2025 will come from carbon emission-free sources, which include hydro and wind power.

The goal is for that to exceed 75% by 2035. Currently, natural gas and coal comprise about two-thirds of SRP’s fuel mix, with nuclear power accounting for another one-fifth or so.

Clēnera will own and operate the solar installation. The company estimates the CO Bar Solar project will offset more than 4 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. In addition, it will create about 550 construction jobs, with many filled by local residents.


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