7.5MW Solar Power Plant for Water Treatment

A 7.5 MW solar power plant has been developed by SunPower Corp at Phoenix’s Lake Pleasant Water Treatment Plant. The installation is expected to generate 70% of the plant’s energy needs.


SunPower Corp. had also announced the completion of four solar power systems, totaling 3.8 MW at public water agencies and water treatment facilities in California beginning of last year. SunPower Corporation


SunPower’s solar system is expected to save the water treatment plant more than US$4 million over 20 years. The installation has a total of 22,936 solar panels and will save about 15 million kWh every year.

“With more than 300 days of sunshine each year, Phoenix is a natural for using solar power,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “The Lake Pleasant Water Treatment Plant project is the latest in a series of solar initiatives utilized at various city locations to increase the city’s commitment to sustainable energy development.”

SunPower Corp. had also announced the completion of four solar power systems, totaling 3.8 MW at public water agencies and water treatment facilities in California beginning of last year.

The city of Phoenix also has a SunPower solar system that generates 5.4 MW at Sky Harbor and 100 kW systems at the Phoenix Convention Center and Burton Barr Central Library, both with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certified facilities.

At the Lake Pleasant Water Treatment Plant, a 6-megawatt ground-mounted solar array features a SunPower T0 Tracker system, which positions solar panels to follow the sun’s movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements. The SunPower T10 Solar Roof Tile was used for a 1.5-megawatt array atop a reservoir.

Phoenix is financing the system through a solar services agreement with SunPower. Under terms of the agreement, Wells Fargo owns the system that SunPower designed, built, and will operate and maintain. The city will buy the electricity at rates that are competitive with retail electricity, minimizing the effect of rising electricity costs with no capital investment. The renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the system will be transferred to Arizona Public Service (APS) in fulfillment of the state’s renewable energy standard. The project was facilitated in part by APS’s Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which offers financial incentives to customers that help to offset up to 40 percent of the costs of installing solar energy.

Read more: http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/75mw-solar-power-plant-for-water-treatment_100009858/#ixzz2IWjUp0MQ

White Sands becomes US Army’s largest solar power system

The US Army today dedicated its largest solar photovoltaic system at White Sands Missile Range. The ceremony was led by Brigadier General Gwen Bingham, who was joined by the Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.

The four megawatt White Sands Missile Range solar energy system has been developed by the US Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, Siemens Government Technologies, and Bostonia Bank. It is understood the solar system will generate approximately 10 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity annually, and provide an estimated annual savings of $930,000.

Complemented by a 375 kW solar carport, the solar array deployed at White Sands will supply approximately 10 percent of the total power used at the installation and reduce carbon emissions by 7,400 tons per year. Featuring Solaria’s proprietary technology, the 4.1 MW ground-mounted tracking system is also the world’s largest low concentration photovoltaic solar power plant.

White Sands Missile Range is a Test and Evaluation Command Installation operated primarily for the support of research, development, test and evaluation of weapon and space systems, subsystems and components. Encompassing a missile range/rocket launch range, White Sands is one of the largest military installations in the US covering 3,200 square miles. The facility is unique in the fact that it has several agencies on site as tenants including NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

“This is an exciting project for the U.S. Army,” said Garrison Commander Colonel Leo Pullar. “A sunny location like New Mexico provides an ideal site for solar power. This project illustrates the U.S. Army’s commitment to going green, our focus on operating on net zero energy, and doing what we can to help protect the environment.”

“We are very pleased to be inaugurating this milestone photovoltaic installation,” said Will Irby, Huntsville Center program manager.

“We’re extremely grateful to the entire team, comprised of the staff from White Sands Missile Range, Huntsville Center, Siemens, their subcontractor Solaria Corporation and Bostonia, working under the leadership of Brigadier General Gwen Bingham and Colonel Leo Pullar. Everyone has done an outstanding job to bring this project to fruition.”

Construction of the solar power plant began in April 2012 and was completed in December 2012. The ground-mounted single-axis Solaria tracking system follows the sun across the sky, increasing energy yield by up to 30% over fixed systems. All energy generated from the project will be consumed by onsite operations.

Source: www.pv-tech.org

Nanowires Fuel Breakthrough for Solar Energy

In the latest issue of Science, researchers from Lund University in Sweden have shown how nanowires could pave the way for more efficient and cheaper solar cells.

“Our findings are the first to show that it really is possible to use nanowires to manufacture solar cells,” says Magnus Borgström, a researcher in semiconductor physics and the principal author.

Research on solar cell nanowires is on the rise globally. Until now the unattained dream figure was ten per cent efficiency — but now Dr Borgström and his colleagues are able to report an efficiency of 13.8 per cent.

The nanowires are made of the semiconductor material indium phosphide and work like antennae that absorb sunlight and generate power. The nanowires are assembled on surfaces of one square millimetre that each house four million nanowires. A nanowire solar cell can produce an effect per active surface unit several times greater than today’s silicon cells.

Nanowire solar cells have not yet made it beyond the laboratory, but the plan is that the technology could be used in large solar power plants in sunny regions such as the south-western USA, southern Spain and Africa.

The Lund researchers have now managed to identify the ideal diameter of the nanowires and how to synthesise them.

“The right size is essential for the nanowires to absorb as many photons as possible. If they are just a few tenths of a nanometre too small their function is significantly impaired,” explains Magnus Borgström.

The silicon solar cells that are used to supply electricity for domestic use are relatively cheap, but inefficient because they are only able to utilise a limited part of the effect of the sunlight. The reason is that one single material can only absorb part of the spectrum of the light.

Research carried out alongside that on nanowire technology therefore aims to combine different types of semiconductor material to make efficient use of a broader part of the solar spectrum. The disadvantage of this is that they become extremely expensive and can therefore only be used in niche contexts, such as on satellites and military planes.

However, this is not the case with nanowires. Because of their small dimensions, the same sort of material combinations can be created with much less effort, which offers higher efficiency at a low cost. The process is also less complicated. In the Science article, the researchers have shown that the nanowires can generate power at the same level as a thin film of the same material, even if they only cover around 10 per cent of the surface rather than 100 per cent.

The research has been carried out as part of an EU-funded project, AMON-RA, coordinated by Knut Deppert, Professor of Physics at Lund University.

“As the coordinator of the project, I am very proud of such a great result — it has well exceeded our expectations. We will of course continue the research on nanowire solar cells and hope to achieve an even higher level of efficiency than the 13.8 per cent that we have now reported,” says Knut Deppert.

Source: www.zeitnews.com

Siemens Tapped for Federal Government’s Largest Ever Wind Farm


[Image: Courtesy of Siemens]

If a sustainability-related contract could drip with irony, this one’s a regular Niagara Falls: Siemens Government Technologies will construct the largest wind project ever undertaken by the federal government, and electricity from the wind turbines will account for more than 60 percent of the electricity needs of the Pantex nuclear facility. If “Pantex” and “nuclear facility” don’t ring a bell, well, we had to look it up, too. It’s a high security installation near Amarillo, Texas, run by an agency of the Department of Energy called the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which conducts a set of interlocking missions related to nuclear weapons security and emergency response.

Why a nuclear facility needs help from wind power

In a word, money. Unencumbered by the safety issues and water resource issues that have been bedeviling the nuclear power industry, wind energy is rapidly proving to be an economical choice in wind-rich states like Texas.

The wind farm will be built with no up-front cost to NNSA, under the kind of power purchase agreement that is becoming commonplace in the solar industry, and it will provide the Pantex Plant with an average of $2.9 million annually in savings over the life of its 20-year contract.

The wind farm, which is actually located on about 1,500 acres of federal property just east of the Pantex Plant, will be composed of five 2.3 megawatt turbines and will generate about 45 million kWh of electricity annually.

As an important side benefit, the wind farm will also serve as a research site for NNSA’s education partner, Texas Tech University, which was recently selected as the site of the Department of Energy’s new wind turbine test facility, the Scaled Wind Farm Technology.

Wind farms and federal installations

The federal government has been notoriously cautious about siting wind farms on or near government installations, primarily due to concerns over interference with radar and communications equipment.

However, those concerns are beginning to fade as new technological solutions arise, one example being a holographic radar system developed by the company Aveillant, which can distinguish between wind turbine blades and other objects.
Siemens and the wind tax credit

Given the aforementioned cautious approach by the federal government, the new Siemens wind farm is a real breakthrough. It took about three years and overcoming “numerous hurdles” to win approval for the project, which will begin construction in December 2013 with completion expected in the spring of 2014.

If those dates raise a red flag, you’re probably thinking of the production tax credit for wind power. Last year, Republicans in Congress balked at extending the longstanding tax credit, leading wind companies like Siemens to scale back plans for expansion and lay off employees.

However, earlier this month the tax credit was finally granted a one-year extension by Congress after hard-fought lobbying by the wind industry, aided by military veterans affiliated with the energy security organization The Truman Project, along with bi-partisan cooperation that included several key Republican legislators and governors from wind-producing states.

Part of what the wind industry fought for was a new definition of the projects covered by the one-year extension. In previous iterations, the tax credit only covered projects that were completed within the specified time frame. However, modern large-scale wind farms typically take 18 months to two years to develop, putting all but small, modestly sized projects outside of a one-year time frame. In order to make the extension meaningful for modern wind development, the industry fought for and won a definition that covers any wind farm that begins construction this year, regardless of when it will be completed.

Another innovative notch in the Siemens belt

The rather daring nature of the Pantex wind farm is right in line with several other recent cutting edge projects undertaken by Siemens, as exemplified by its new showcase building in London called the Crystal.

Another recent example is an “eHighway” that updates the old electric trolley model to provided an electrified lane for trucks that would otherwise run on diesel fuel. When equipped with a rooftop pantograph, trucks could switch seamlessly to electric power whenever an electrified lane is available, then switch back to diesel as needed.

Source: www.triplepundit.com

New solar panels on campus double CU-Boulder’s solar power production

A new array of solar panels installed at the University of Colorado Boulder has doubled solar power production on campus, providing clean energy for research facilities and other campus buildings.

The 500-kilowatt system is capable of producing 725,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year, enough to power about 100 average-sized houses. The array is unique for CU-Boulder, a campus that already hosts solar panels on numerous rooftops. The new system is the first ground-mounted set of solar panels and the largest on campus. It also is one of the largest ground-mounted arrays in Boulder.

The installation will help CU-Boulder power the campus, reduce energy costs and work toward the long-term goal of achieving carbon neutrality.

“This project complements and extends our commitment to leveraging solar energy throughout campus to provide power in a low-cost and responsible manner,” said Moe Tabrizi, CU-Boulder campus sustainability director.

The array is located on 2.5 acres of land near Foothills Parkway and Colorado Avenue, in the 220-acre CU Research Park. It was developed and built by Panasonic Eco Solutions North America with local support from Lighthouse Solar. Financing was provided by a combination of Colorado Amendment 37 rebates and incentives via Xcel Energy, as well as federal tax credits and third-party financing. Colorado Amendment 37 was passed by voters in 2004 to mandate 20 percent use of renewable energy statewide by 2020.

In seven years, CU-Boulder will have the option of purchasing the solar panels at a fraction of their original cost and also will be able to sell power back to Xcel Energy.

Solar panels also are located at 10 other locations on campus including the Coors Events Center, the Center for Community, the University Memorial Center and the Wolf Law Building. Including the new array, CU-Boulder’s solar panels generate about 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy, enough to power about 200 average-sized houses.

Source: www.colorado.edu