Longroad Energy, a U.S.-based renewable energy developer, owner and operator, commenced construction of Sun Streams 3, its 285-MWDC solar and 215 MWAC/860 MWh storage project located in Maricopa County, Arizona. Sun Streams 3 is expected to begin commercial operations in 2024 and will be the largest solar + storage project in Longroad’s operational portfolio.
“We are pleased to have achieved the key milestones of financial close and commencement of construction on Sun Streams 3, the latest phase of our flagship solar + storage complex located at one of the most significant power hubs in the western U.S.,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of Longroad Energy. “Arizona is an important growth market, and Longroad currently has a 4-GW operating and development portfolio in the state.”
The project interconnects with the grid at the Hassayampa switchyard, a western transmission hub. Sun Streams 3 will generate enough electricity to power 90,000 homes, which will be purchased by Arizona Public Service (APS) via a long-term Power Purchase Agreement.
“Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country, and it’s our responsibility to keep the lights on year-round for the communities we serve — from homes to hospitals to manufacturing centers,” said Justin Joiner, VP of resource management at APS. “The energy generated by this project will assist APS as we transition to a 100% clean and carbon-free resource mix by 2050 and is one way we are maintaining an affordable, resilient and balanced energy supply for all our customers.”
Longroad acquired Sun Streams 3 from First Solar in early 2021 in a transaction that included multiple projects in Arizona, including the 200-MWDC Sun Streams 2 solar project which has been operational since 2021, and additional projects, which are still in development. Continuing their partnership, First Solar is supplying Longroad with Series 6+ solar modules for the Sun Streams 3 project.
During construction, Sun Streams 3 is projected to employ over 300 people. McCarthy Building Cos., with its Renewable Energy & Storage team based in Phoenix, was selected as the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor on the project. McCarthy also built Longroad’s adjacent 200-MWDC Sun Streams 2 solar project.
“Longroad is a leader in the renewable energy transition and we’re proud to be partnering with them again for the Sun Streams 3 solar project,” said Scott Canada, executive VP of McCarthy’s Renewable Energy & Storage team. “It’s very rewarding for our team to be part of building a more sustainable energy infrastructure in Arizona, in partnership with Longroad, and to also be providing members of the local community with career opportunities in the expanding solar industry.”
The 215-MW/860-MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) will be delivered by Powin, a U.S.-based energy storage manufacturer with over 17 GWh of projects deployed, under construction, or under contract. The BESS will include SMA inverters and cells from Envision AESC, which will be integrated into Powin’s modular and scalable Stack 750E energy segment. Longroad, in conjunction with Powin and NovaSource, will provide long-term operations and maintenance services.
Nextracker is supplying trackers for the project and SunGrow is supplying the solar inverters. Comprehensive operations and maintenance services for the project will be provided by NovaSource and Longroad’s affiliate Longroad Energy Services.
Sun Streams 3 will generate more than $65 million in revenue for Arizona schools via long-term leases with the Arizona State Land Department.
News item from Longroad Energy Holdings
The future has great possibilities, whether it turns out that way is yet to be seen. In the case of First Solar the IRA has allowed them to step up plans for a new panel manufacturing facility to be constructed soon. The IRA and DOE energy programs supporting CdTe R&D is expected to allow 26% efficient solar PV panels by 2030. First Solar has the opportunity to accelerate this several years to the 2024-2025 year and have solar PV panels that are as efficient at sun harvest as any crystal silicon solar cell produced today. The CdTe technology is less energy intensive, doesn’t need foundries, crystal pulls, cutting into wafers, annealing, doping to make solar PV cells, then finally assembly into panels. First Solar has an opportunity to go further and maybe use Perovskites in tandem cells that will work as well and as long as CdTe cells and have efficiencies at the 30% to 35% efficiency output point. With a 35% efficient solar PV panel one could expect big box stores or warehouses, commercial buildings and industrial buildings to be able to install enough solar PV on their roofs to take care of most of their daily energy needs to run the operations. Getting rid of the electricity “middleman” saves money for the operations, not the energy companies monthly electric bills. I believe the Hassayampa switching station was upgraded in 2019 to service the Central Arizona Project, that has been shopping for another power source since the closure of the NGS coal fired plant in Northern Arizona. As part of that upgrade it seems a better inerconnection of the Palo Verde nuclear plant could also be used by the ESS in these solar PV farms as a place to store energy generated in the 2AM to 5AM time period when the Palo Verde plant has a stragetic dip in energy demands, but still is a “baseload” generation facility. This will allow off peak energy to be stored for the roughly 6AM to 9AM power demands as companies open their doors and a large surge in energy is needed to start up the commercial and industrial plants for the day.