Distributed renewable energy
generation is creating an exciting
shift in the utility business.
By PHIl SMITHerS
VOL. 26, NO. 3
that there is value in producing DE on the APS
grid if we are able to achieve high penetration
over a long term, implement smart-grid technologies and develop energy storage opportunities within the system.
The Community Power Project helps APS
exceed its RES requirements by removing bar-
riers for customers and by meeting growing
customer demand for DE, especially for solar
panels. Additionally, the project will serve
as a laboratory platform for a series of inte-
grated studies to provide data from real-world
usage, helping us to understand the impacts
kilowatts (k W) will be generated on the roof-
tops of APS customers with 600 k W coming
from residential customers and 400 k W com-
ing from a combination of roof and ground-
mount systems at Cromer Elementary School.
APS also has just completed the Doney Park
Renewable Energy Site, which will generate
500 to 700 k W of power from a utility-scale PV
array and is designed for up to 8 k W of wind.
When the Community Power Project is fully
operational this spring, the Sandvig 4 feeder
line will receive more than 30 percent of its
power from renewable sources.
Phil Smithers is technical services leader in the renewable energy unit of APS, Arizona’s largest electric utility
company. He serves on the American Solar Energy
Society board of directors, representing the ASES
Clean Energy Division. His background is in civil, structural and mechanical design, project management
and transmission siting.
Copyright © 2012 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
and potential value of DE on the grid. These
studies will examine the effects of a high concentration of solar on the electric grid; energy
storage opportunities; photovoltaic (PV) variability and intermittency; and costs associated
with the high penetration of solar power. It
is the first fully integrated look at the impact
that a high concentration of DE will have on
the reliability, operations and maintenance of
utility energy production.
The project is a melding of consumer, utility and energy industry interests. It will deliver
a total of 1.5 megawatts (MW) of power in
a single electric distribution feeder — 1,000
the right community
The location and distribution feeder line was chosen for
a variety of reasons. The primary requirement was finding
a distribution feeder in a community that had the potential
to reach a high penetration of
solar. The Flagstaff customer
base has expressed significant
interest in using new renewable energy models for powering their community.
APS engineers identified
Flagstaff neighborhoods that
presented a diverse residential and commercial customer base. The team felt this was
important so that studies were not limited by
types of usage. Sandvig 4 became the leading
option because of the potential it demonstrated for residential implementation. While
it is short on commercial interests, APS was
confident Cromer Elementary School could
represent commercial usage.
Smart-grid capability is essential to the
project’s data collection and our smart-grid
initiative was well underway in the Flagstaff
community. The Automated Metering
Infrastructure (AMI) collects data on both
APS owns, operates
and receives the energy
from the solar panels,
The Doney Park renewable energy Site will generate 500 to 700
kilowatts of power from a utility-scale photovoltaic array, and is
designed for up to 8 k W of wind.
essentially creating a mini
power plant on eligible