Crimson Storage in California. (Credit: ©2022. Recurrent Energy)
The facility is a part of the larger Crimson Solar Project, which will be constructed in future. (Credit: Sabine van Erp from Pixabay)
The system will store and distribute enough electricity to power more than 47,000 homes on average each year. (Credit: Portland General Electric/ Flickr)

Crimson Storage is a 350 MW / 1400 MWh standalone energy storage project located in Riverside County, California, the US.

The facility is a part of the larger Crimson Solar Project, which will be constructed in future.

In 2021, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the US granted final approval to the Crimson Solar Project.

The approval enabled Recurrent Energy’s wholly-owned subsidiary Sonoran West Solar Holdings to develop the 350 MW solar photovoltaic facility as well as the 350MW battery storage system.

Construction works for the energy storage project commenced in the same year and the facility entered the operational phase in October 2022, becoming the second-largest operating energy storage project in the world.

Crimson Storage will help in maintaining grid reliability during peak demand and will enable California to achieve its clean energy goals.

The system will store and distribute enough electricity to power more than 47,000 homes on average each year. This will help in offsetting up to 275,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to taking more than 53,000 cars off the road.

In September 2021, Recurrent Energy, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar, sold an 80% stake in the energy storage project to Axium Infrastructure (Axium). Recurrent Energy retained 20% ownership in the facility.

Location and site details

Crimson Storage is developed on public lands about 13 miles west of Blythe, in Riverside County, California.

The entire project, including the storage and the solar facility, will include about 2,000 acres of land administered by the BLM.

According to Recurrent Energy, Crimson Storage is the first standalone energy storage project that gained approval to site on BLM lands under the Biden Administration.

Project details

According to Crimson Solar Project Final Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Land Use Plan in 2021, the utility-scale solar facility would generate up to 350MW of renewable energy using photovoltaic (PV) technology.

The project components will include PV modules and support structures equipped with fixed-tilt or tracking technology; inverters, transformers, and an electrical collection system; up to four substations.

The project infrastructure will also include a nearly 6,000ft-long generation tie-line and an operations and maintenance (O&M) building among others.

The solar facility will be interconnected to the regional electrical grid via Southern California Edison’s (SCE) 230-kilovolt (kV) Colorado River Substation.

The energy storage system is located at the northern end of the site. The lithium iron phosphate-based technology battery system can store up to 1,400 MWh of electricity.

Around 140 union workers were involved in the construction of the storage project. Crimson Storage will generate $19m of long-term revenue for Riverside County.

Contractors involved  

In September 2021, Canadian Solar majority-owned subsidiary CSI Solar was contracted to deliver the fully-integrated battery storage system as well as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services.

The company will also provide long-term maintenance services for the stand-alone battery storage project. CSI Solar will be responsible for capacity and performance guarantees, ensuring system output, safety and reliability as well as potential expansions in future.

In 2016, ESA, an environmental consulting firm, prepared a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) and integrated analysis of a California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan Amendment for the Crimson Solar Project.

ESA also provided third-party compliance monitoring on behalf of BLM during the construction phase.

Offtake agreements

Crimson Storage project holds two energy storage contracts with local utilities Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). Both contracts are part of reliability procurements directed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

SCE has a 200 MW / 800 MWh, 14-year and 10 month contract under a full tolling agreement, while PG&E signed a 150 MW / 600 MWh 15 year contract for Resource Adequacy only.

Recurrent Energy and Axium infrastructure together operate the battery system in the California wholesale power market.