Tennessee-based independent power producer Silicon Ranch and the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Co-operative (SSVEC), a member-owned distribution cooperative, have completed the 20MW McNeal solar farm plus storage project in Cochise County, Arizona, US.

It includes an 80 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery energy storage system, which will enable the cooperative to meet the increasing power demand and needs of more than 3,000 south-eastern Arizona households.

SSVEC has been shifting from coal for its energy procurement towards alternatives such as natural gas, hydropower and solar power.

Completion of the McNeal solar project is a significant step towards a greener and more reliable source of electricity, which also guarantees price stability.

The cooperative is expanding its renewable energy portfolio across its service territory by working with Silicon Ranch. The addition of the 80MWh battery storage facility will increase SSVEC’s capacity to meet increasing demand throughout the day and into the evening.

SSVEC CEO Jason Bowling stated: “The McNeal solar and battery storage project allows SSVEC to increase the amount of affordable, renewable energy for our members, while supporting system reliability and promoting energy independence.

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“As the largest electric co-operative in Arizona, providing our members with safe, reliable and affordable power is our number one priority, and our new partnership with Silicon Ranch helps us deliver against this important mission to benefit our members and the communities we serve.”

Silicon Ranch has developed the project and will be its long-term owner and operator. It has invested $70m in the solar plant and created more than 140 jobs during its construction phase.

The solar plant is expected to generate significant tax revenues for the county in the coming years.

Silicon Ranch CEO and co-founder Reagan Farr stated: “At Silicon Ranch, our number one priority is to promote stronger, healthier and more resilient communities through the work that we do, and this mission aligns perfectly with the ethos of America’s electric co-operatives.

“We are honoured to expand this important work with SSVEC as we celebrate the start of a new chapter in its 85-year history of service to south-eastern Arizona. On behalf of our entire team, I also want to thank Cochise County for welcoming Silicon Ranch as its newest corporate citizen.”