Working in partnership with the PearLuna Group, 621 Energy provided consulting services to produce a Preliminary Design Report for a solar generating facility located at Grand Canyon West, on the Hualapai Reservation in northern Arizona. Grand Canyon West is a major tourist destination and includes an airport, restaurants, gift shops, lodging, and the “Skywalk” (a glass bridge that enables visitors to walk beyond the rim of the Grand Canyon at 4,000 feet above the Colorado River).

As the site is not served by a utility electric grid, Grand Canyon West operates on electricity produced from stand-alone diesel generators. The overall goal was to develop an energy project to create significant operational cost savings, benefit the fragile environment, and contribute to a long-term sustainable future.

The report provided technical and economic evaluations of energy efficiency and solar PV energy options, recommended the best approaches and provided preliminary design information to allow for effective implementation. All analysis and recommendations were provided within the context of the construction of a local “micro-grid” electric distribution system to connect all the buildings on the site.

Project deliverables included:

  • Site survey and estimate of current energy usage and cost (by building and major use categories)
  • Estimate of generator efficiency and calculation of current incremental energy costs
  • Technical and economic evaluation of potential energy conservation measures with a final recommended priority list
  • Evaluation of PV system parameters, including: optimal PV system capacity, estimated annual production; current and future land requirements; suitability of specific potential PV sitesTechnical evaluation of two PV options considered for connection to a new local “micro-grid”: a PV system without energy storage and a larger hybrid system with battery storage
  • Economic evaluation for all considered measures using the following metrics: Levelized Cost of Electricity, Internal Rate of Return and Simple Payback
  • Project financing options
  • Implementation schedule with major milestones