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10MW Solar Facility Planned for Pinal County

Credit: Pinal County

By Tasha Anderson for AZBEX 

Pinal County recently heard and approved plans for a new 10MW solar photovoltaic energy generation facility at its April 15th Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. 

The project, named Chirreon Energy Solar Facility, will be located on Edwin Road, about 1.5 miles west of the North Oracle Road intersections with Edwin Road and Eagle Crest Boulevard. The land is owned by the Arizona State Land Department and the intention is to secure a long-term commercial lease. A formal lease agreement is expected in June 2020. 

Chirreon Energy LLC – also shown in the submitted documents as Torch Clean Energy – submitted three separate requests to the county in order to allow for the development of the facility. The first was for a Non-Major Comprehensive Plan amendment to re-designate approximately 99.8 acres from Moderate Low Density Residential to Green Energy Productions. The second is for rezoning approval of the same property from General Rural Zone to I-3/PAD. Finally, the third request was for approval of the Planned Area Overlay Zoning District. 

The Chirreon Energy Solar Facility is planned as a 10MW greenfield photovoltaic solar energy generation facility being developed in association with Trico Electric Cooperative. “The Project is being proposed to increase the reliability of Trico’s electric system by producing local power and preventing system outages to the adjacent SaddleBrooke community,” the project documents state. 

Solar panels with an expected capacity of 10MW will be constructed north of Edwin Road and be housed on a mounting structure that rotates east to west in order to track the sun. A battery storage system and other site equipment will be located south of Edwin Road within a walled enclosure. 

An interconnection yard will also be south of Edwin Road, adjacent to an existing distribution line. “A 30 MW/hr battery storage system will be adjacent to the interconnection yard along with a 20,000-gallon water tank,” according to the documents. “The system will include dry hydrants located within 100 feet of the battery enclosure and connected to the water storage tank for access by the fire department.” 

The project will provide electricity to approximately 2,400 homes within Trico’s service territory. According to the project documents, construction is anticipated to begin in Q4 2020 and be completed by the end of Q1 2021. Once construction is complete, Trico is expected to take full ownership of the project. 

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