SRP and Intel team up for new solar plant

It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to learn that a giant tech company campus in the Greater Phoenix-area uses a great deal of power–especially since it specializes in making computer chips. That’s why giant tech company, Intel, which operates in Chandler, is teaming up with Salt River Project (SRP) to develop a new solar power plant that will fuel the campus.

Announced earlier this month, the non-profit utility company and Intel will work with sPower to build the plant about 60 miles south of Phoenix in Eloy, a literal hotbed for solar energy.

The solar facility will provide 100 Megawatts (MW) of zero emissions energy for Intel’s Ocotillo Campus, located in south Chandler, off the south 202 freeway. That location is one of the global tech company’s largest semiconductor manufacturing sites throughout the world. So, it will definitely need some good clean solar energy.

“An important part of meeting SRP’s carbon objectives is to work with large customers to provide them with renewable energy solutions that also meet their sustainability goals,” said SRP General Manager and CEO Mike Hummel, in a statement. “This is a great example of how utilities and their business customers can work together to promote sustainability.”

The goal is for the plant to operate on a greener and more sustainable energy supply compared to other sites.

“Intel will continue to look for additional innovative ways to provide a more sustainable electric supply, globally, in all locations where we operate,” notes Marty Sedler, Intel’s director of global utilities and infrastructure, in a press release.

The two companies are agreeing to a 15-year plan that will contribute to SRP’s goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Last year, Intel pledged to invest $7 billion in its Chandler operations and continue to work on a hyper-advanced semiconductor facility.

“We are excited this collaboration will drive new, additional solar facilities in Arizona,” adds Sedler. “This effort helps support our portfolio approach to use a greener and more sustainable energy supply.”

Renewable energy has been a major topic in Arizona, especially around the time of the recent midterm elections. This past spring SRP partnered with NextEra Energy Resources to announce the opening of Pinal Central Solar Energy Center, an integrated solar plant equipped with a battery system that stores energy.

The solar generation facility, made up of 258,000 solar panels on more than 250 acres east of Casa Grande, is expected to generate about $7 million in additional revenue for Pinal County over its operational lifetime.

SRP is also in the middle of its plan to add 1,000 Megawatts of new solar energy to its operations by 2025. This will reduce SRP’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 5 million tons. The Intel collaboration project contributes to SRP’s 2035 goals, which include a commitment to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from power generation by 33 percent overall.

Nick Esquer

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