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November 8, 2010 – Vol.15 No.34

SEVEN DAYS OF SOLAR 10-31-10. Large solar projects in the U.S. for the week of October 31, 2010.
by Bruce Mulliken, Green Energy News

Solar energy technologies installed today may be quite different than technologies installed 10 or 20 years from now. Next up in solar evolution may be new photovoltaic materials now only in the laboratory.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory have announced that they’ve fabricated transparent thin films capable of absorbing light and generating electric charge over a relatively large area. The material, described in the journal Chemistry of Materials, could be used to develop transparent solar panels or even windows that absorb solar energy to generate electricity.

According to a press release, “The material consists of a semiconducting polymer doped with carbon-rich fullerenes. Under carefully controlled conditions, the material self-assembles to form a reproducible pattern of micron-size hexagon-shaped cells over a relatively large area (up to several millimeters).”

Moreover the scientists say the process to make the material in the lab can be scaled-up to mass production. Read more about the material here.

This week this publication received announcements for more than 708 megawatts of large scale solar capacity as being completed, under construction, or in the development pipeline in the U.S.

A note on the above numbers: New capacity listed under “Completed” are obviously delivering new clean power. Those listed as “Under construction” are likely to eventually be delivering new clean power, but anything can happen and a project can be halted at any time. Those listed as “In the development pipeline” can be iffy. Developers would like to see them built, of course, but again anything can happen to stop the project.


--- BP Solar and BP Alternative Energy donated almost 300, 215-watt solar modules to Stanford University that were installed on two new buildings anchoring the university’s Science and Engineering Quad in Stanford, California.

The Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering are the latest additions to Stanford’s state of the art facilities. The rooftop solar installations with a rated capacity of 60.2 kW together will provide more than 2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over their lives.

DRI Energy, of Irvine, California, installed the panels.

BP Solar

DRI Energy

--- Choate Construction Company has recently commissioned a Solyndra 74-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) energy system for their Headquarters building located at Northridge Plaza. The Solyndra system is now the largest in the Southeast and was designed and installed by Empower Energy Technology.

Solyndra designs and manufactures proprietary cylindrical modules incorporating copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film technology. Their panels employ cylindrical modules which capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity.

The solar energy system can be visited on the web in real time at Choate Solar.

Choate Solar

Empower Energy Technology

--- Cogenra Solar has unveiled a solar cogeneration project at the Sonoma Wine Company in Graton, California. The 272-kW installation is now supplying renewable heat and electricity to support the company’s winery operations. The historic commissioning represents the first commercial-scale installation of its kind, combining proven photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies in one solar array in an important move toward more affordable and efficient utilization of solar energy.

The solar cogeneration installation employs 15 individual Cogenra SunBase (tm) modules to displace approximately 64,000 kilowatt-hours and 12,500 therms of natural gas annually. The solar thermal element will heat water to 165F to sustainably fuel Sonoma Wine Company’s wine tank wash and wine barrel washing system.

Cogenra Solar

--- Green Mountain Power (GMp) has completed three new major solar systems bringing its total to five. The new installations include a 150 kW system at Shelburne Farms, a 138 kW system at the GMP Montpelier Service Center's rooftop and a 200 kW solar array installation at the company's Berlin facility, currently the largest in the state.

The utility company’s two other arrays equal 62 kW. With the new installations GMP has exceeded its goal of installing and helping its customers install 10,000 solar panels in 1,000 days.

Green Mountain Power

--- Solar Service, of Niles, Illinois has announced the completion of the largest privately owned commercial photovoltaic solar panel installation in that state. The company has designed, installed and provided the grant writing for the 153kW project at United Displaycraft headquarters in Des Plaines .

United Displaycraft expects the solar system to pay for itself in four to five years. With a grant from the state of illinois and federal tax incentives the project will deliver over 25 years of electricity at an amortized cost of less than seven cents per kilowatt hour.

Solar Service

Under construction.

--- Colorado Springs Utilities (Springs Utilities) and SunPower Corporation are building a 6-MW solar photovoltaic power system at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Ground has been broken on the 30-acre site, and the plant is expected to be operational by summer 2011.

The project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), as a result of government requirements for federal facilities to use increasing amounts of renewable energy. SunPower and Springs Utilities will each own 50 percent of the renewable energy credits (RECs) and environmental benefits associated with the system.

SunPower Corporation

--- GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare has begun installing solar panels on its northeast regional distribution center. Once completed, the 3-MW array will represent the largest rooftop system in North America.

The project with 11,000 solar panels will cover an area the size of approximately seven football fields. The solar panels will generate enough electricity to meet the annual energy needs of the nearly 500,000-square-foot building, which is equivalent to the amount of power 400 average-sized homes use in a year.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

In the development pipeline.

--- Ameresco has been awarded a contract by the the Department of Veterans Affairs to design and build solar photovoltaic system for the Salt Lake City Veterans Administration Medical Center.

The project scope includes a mixture of roof top and ground mounted arrays of solar photovoltaic panels. The roof top systems will be installed on seven campus facilities with systems ranging from 35 to 100 kW. The ground mounted system is envisioned to be approximately 550 kW once the design is completed and approved.


--- The California Energy Commission has approved the 663.5 MW Calico Solar Project in San Bernardino County. The primary equipment for the 4,613-acre generating facility would be solar dish Stirling systems, or "SunCatchers." Each SunCatcher consists of a solar receiver heat exchanger and a closed-cycle, high-efficiency engine designed to convert solar power to rotary power, then driving an electrical generator to produce electricity.

During the construction of the Calico Solar Project, a peak workforce of 700 will be required, with another 180 jobs when the plant is in operation. The Calico Solar Project is being developed by Calico Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of Tessera Solar.

Tessera Solar

--- SunPower Corporation has announced an agreement with Iberdrola Renewables to design and build a 30-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant, the San Luis Valley Solar Ranch, on 216 acres of private, former agricultural land in Colorado's Alamosa County. Expected to be fully operational by the end of 2011, construction will begin this year and create approximately 100 jobs.

Iberdrola Renewables is developing the solar ranch, and will own and operate it. The company will sell the electricity under a long term contract to Xcel Energy, for distribution on the region's utility grid.

SunPower Corporation

Iberdrola Renewables

--- Dominion Virginia Power, with the approval of a $5 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, is moving forward with plans to build a $35-million integrated solar and advanced energy storage facility in Halifax County, Virginia.

Dominion will issue a request for proposals for the engineering, procurement and construction of the 4-MW solar facility,The 50-acre project would make it the largest solar generating station in the state. The company estimates that it will take about 100 construction jobs to build the solar facility.

Dominion Virginia Power


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