Established in the 1880s by Philadelphia cattle rancher William N. Mitchell, Horseshoe Ranch, located near Antelope Station along the lower Agua Fria River, gained renown for its distinctive horseshoe-shaped brand.After myriad ownership changes in the this historic ranch headquarters, wholly surrounded by the 71,000-acre Agua Fria National Monument, faced foreclosure after the turn of the century. At the behest of the Bureau of Land Management and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, The Trust for Public Land intervened, refinancing the owner and collaborating with the agencies to acquire and protect the ranch. In March 2011, ownership of the land was transferred to Arizona’s Department of Fish and Game for permanent protection, ensuring the conservation of critical wildlife habitat and an extensive network of Native American sites within the monument.
The property initially relied solely on generator power until 2011 when a commercial electrical contractor was enlisted to construct an off-grid solar system. The original design and install was not performed by a team with deep knowledge of off-grid power systems and performance did not meet expectations upon commissioning. In subsequent years, NewGrid managed incremental modifications to the existing power system until the demand surpassed the original architecture’s capacity. Subsequently, NewGrid undertook a complete reconstruction of the power equipment shed, implementing a cutting-edge power system featuring a new battery bank and an additional 10kW of solar capacity.
Designed with future expansion in mind, the power system has undergone continuous upgrades since its inception, accommodating the evolving needs of the property, including the incorporation of more solar panels and power processing equipment. Horseshoe Ranch currently serves as a testing ground for Arizona State University’s agricultural research, with amenities such as an operational pool and hot tub and various bunk houses with air conditioning all powered seamlessly by the off-grid system.