Red Horse solar array

The expansion of a large photovoltaic array in southeastern Arizona more than doubled the amount of solar power generated for UniSource Energy Services customers.

The 37-megawatt Red Horse project expansion was completed in July. It will produce about 66,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power more than 6,000 homes.

The new panels boosted UES’ solar assets to a total of 66 megawatts. Red Horse is now the biggest solar generator for UES, which has about 21 MW of renewable systems in Mohave County and a 7 MW system in Santa Cruz County.

“With Red Horse, UES has another cost-effective renewable generator that provides customers safe, reliable power,” said Jeff Krauss, who oversees the company’s large-scale renewable energy efforts.

Since August 2015, the Red Horse facility has been generating wind and solar power for customers of Tucson Electric Power, UES’ sister company. The expansion project, which began in November 2015, was designed for the exclusive use of UES.

The site is about 15 miles northeast of Willcox, with wind turbines on a mountain ridge next to the solar field. The 100,000 new solar panels for UES cover about 200 acres in and around the original facility.

The entire Red Horse project generates 101 megawatts of solar and wind energy for both UES and TEP, enough to power more than 21,300 homes.

While UES relies on another combined solar-wind facility in the Kingman area, this is the only such site developed to serve both TEP and UES. “It is exciting because this site is unique,” Krauss said.

The Red Horse facility is owned and operated by Houston-based Torch Renewable Energy, which developed the project. UES purchases the electricity generated on site.

With the completion of the Red Horse expansion, approximately 12 percent of UES’ energy comes from renewable sources. The company’s expanding clean energy portfolio is exceeding the annual requirements of Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard, which calls on utilities to increase their use of renewable energy each year until it represents 15 percent of their energy by 2025.

Combined, UES and TEP have more than 500 megawatts of renewable energy capacity — enough power to serve nearly 106,000 homes.