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Washington state’s first utility-scale solar and battery project powered up in north Richland. With more than 11,400 new solar panels, paired with battery storage, the Horn Rapids Solar, Storage & Training Project is the latest clean energy development for Energy Northwest. Located seven miles north of Richland on Horn Rapids Rd, the project was created in partnership with Tucci Energy Services, the City of Richland, Potelco Inc., the Department of Commerce, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
The 20-acre project provides 4 megawatts of direct-current electricity — enough energy to power about 600 homes. In addition, the 1 MW battery energy storage system can provide energy to about 150 homes for four hours.
“We’re really excited to see this project come online. It’s always been Energy Northwest’s vision and purpose to provide clean-energy solutions, and this is a great example of partnering to meet the needs of the northwest customers,” said Greg Cullen, Energy Northwest’s Energy Services & Development general manager.
The City of Richland will purchase the solar and battery storage energy for its customers. Power will be directed to Richland’s distribution system, while excess electricity from the solar panels will be stored by the battery system for later use. When paired together, solar and battery storage create a more reliable and flexible source of energy. The large-scale battery helps meet peak energy demand in a cost effective manner.
“The City of Richland is very happy to be home to the HRSST project. The training center and project construction and maintenance jobs have a positive effect on our economy,” said Clint Whitney, City of Richland Energy Services Director. “In addition, purchasing the renewable, carbon-free energy generated from HRSST will enable the City to provide customers more clean energy and help the electric utility meet the State requirements for a carbon-free future.”
In addition to the battery system and solar field, Horn Rapids also houses a training program for solar and battery storage technicians. The training program will be run and managed by Potelco, Inc., an electric utility contracting firm based in Sumner, Wash.
“Potelco’s commitment to quality assurance will be a key asset in the development of our state’s first utility-scale solar and battery project,” said Gary Tucci, CEO of Potelco. “We are proud to play a role in such an important and groundbreaking project.”Horn Rapids Partnerships
Tucci Energy Services, a Seattle-based woman-owned energy corporation, owns and operates the solar portion of the project. Energy Northwest owns and operates the battery storage system.
“This is an exciting day for the City of Richland and the State of Washington as a whole,” said Mary Tucci, chief operating officer of Tucci Energy Services. “This project will provide clean and reliable power to families in this community while showcasing the role utility-scale solar and battery projects can play in our statewide energy strategy moving forward.”
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will monitor and analyze data from the project to evaluate the financial benefits of incorporating battery energy storage in order to develop improved battery designs and advanced tools for incorporating intermittent renewables onto the grid more reliably and economically.
“It’s gratifying to contribute PNNL’s nationally leading expertise in energy storage to an innovative project that directly advances the clean energy priorities of the Tri-Cities and Washington state,” said Steven Ashby, director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
The project was funded in part by a $3 million grant from the state’s Clean Energy Fund in 2017, managed by the Department of Commerce. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 77, which owns and leases the land, has worked with EN and Potelco since 2015 to take the project from concept to development. Project construction began in February 2020.