Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative has a new substation and solar field in McNeal. The substation is expected to serve 3,000 people in the area.

CEO Jason Bowling said the company built its first substation in McNeal 85 years ago and this new one will replace the old one, and the solar field is the first one they have with a battery as a back up.

Renewable energy is proving to be more popular and constant efficient for electric companies and consumers because of the changes in the natural gas market.

Solar in Arizona is the is the best form of renewable energy that we have available,” said Senior Vice President of Operations at Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Dan Wilson. “It provides, um, power at a fixed cost with no fuel cost so, um, its its an attractive, um, addition to our power supply.

The solar array covers 160,000 acres and has 60,000 panels. The battery, located inside the gated substation, will store extra power so there is still power when the sun goes down.

It allows us to generate energy at a fixed price, not subject to the whims of market conditions so it shelters our members from fluctuation in market prices in energy, Bowling said.

The panels will up and running in June and the project will be completed by the end of July.