- The Azure Sky solar + storage project in Texas is Enel Green Power’s second utility-scale solar + storage project in North America after the Lily solar + storage project was announced in July
- The Azure Sky solar + storage project comprises a 284 MW photovoltaic (PV) facility paired with an 81 MW battery and is expected to be operational by summer 2021
- Enel Green Power North America has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with The Home Depot for a 75 MW portion of the project
“Enel Green Power is serious about storage in North America. Coming just a few months after our announcement of the Lily project, Azure Sky’s groundbreaking is yet another step forward toward a sustainable future with flexible, hybrid plants that will generate renewable power while further stabilizing power grids,” said Salvatore Bernabei, newly-appointed CEO of Enel Green Power and Head of Enel’s Global Power Generation business line. “This project is testimony to the resilience of the energy transition fueled by innovation and a steady appetite for renewable energy from commercial customers.”
Through the PPA, the energy The Home Depot will procure annually from the Azure Sky solar project is enough to power more than 150 Home Depot stores. The agreement is The Home Depot’s largest renewable energy procurement and will enable the home improvement retailer to make substantial progress against the company’s new sustainability goal to produce or procure 335 MW of renewable or alternative energy as outlined in the company’s recently released 2020 Responsibility Report.
“Our collaboration with Enel Green Power strengthens our efforts to tap into sustainable energy that’s produced off-site,” said Ron Jarvis, chief sustainability officer of The Home Depot. “Not only does it expand our energy options and reduce our carbon footprint, but when The Home Depot procures or produces energy from renewable sources, we strengthen the business case for clean power alternatives.”
Located west of the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Haskell County, Texas, the Azure Sky solar + storage project comprises a 284 MW1 photovoltaic (PV) facility paired with an 81 MW battery and is expected to be operational by summer 2021.
Azure Sky solar + storage’s nearly 700,000 PV bifacial panels are expected to generate over 586 GWh each year, which will be delivered to the grid and will charge the battery located in the same facility, which is equivalent to avoiding the annual emission of over 386,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The battery storage system will be capable of storing the power generated by the photovoltaic panels, while also providing services to enhance grid flexibility.
The construction process for Azure Sky solar + storage is following Enel Green Power’s Sustainable Construction Site model, a collection of best practices aimed at minimizing the impact of plant construction on the environment. Specifically, the hybrid plant is focused on the integration of regenerative agriculture and circular economy principles in the design, procurement, construction, operations and end-of-life management aspects of both PV panels and battery systems. Azure Sky solar + storage will utilize a native and pollinator-friendly seed mix to establish pollinator habitat for the life of the project, generating both operational efficiency and ecosystem services in the form of providing monarch butterflies, honey bees and native pollinators access to a high-quality habitat. The company has previously implemented pollinator-friendly solar habitat practices at its Aurora solar project in Minnesota through a partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) InSPIRE project.
Enel Green Power is pursuing an active growth strategy in the US and Canada and, as part of the Enel Group’s three-year strategic plan, is expected to install around 1 GW of new utility-scale wind and solar projects per year across the two countries. For each renewable project in development, Enel Green Power evaluates the opportunity for paired storage to further monetize the energy production of the renewable plant, while providing additional benefits such as supporting grid reliability.
Other Enel Green Power construction projects across the US and Canada include the aforementioned 181 MWdc Lily solar + storage project in Texas; the 236.5 MW White Cloud wind project in Missouri; the 299 MW Aurora wind project in North Dakota and a 199 MW expansion of the Cimarron Bend wind farm in Kansas.
Enel Green Power, and the Enel Group as a whole, is closely following the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and is responding, as main priority, to protect the health of its workers, employees and the community where it operates. In North America, the company has enacted strict travel guidelines, stepped up office and project site sanitation and implemented ways for colleagues to conduct their work remotely and follow safe working practices if and when on-site. At the Azure Sky construction site, crews are implementing safe working practices and operations have been structured to maintain social distancing as well as other best practices. Furthermore, as part of its 1.3 million US dollar commitment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic across the US and Canada, the company developed initiatives to support community hospitals, schools and emergency responders in Texas.
Enel Green Power in North America is a leading owner and operator of renewable energy plants with a presence in 18 US states and one Canadian province. The company operates around 70 plants with a managed capacity of over 6 GW powered by hydro, wind, geothermal and solar energy.