September 3, 2012 – Vol.17 No. 25
SEVEN DAYS OF SOLAR 8-26-12
Solar combined heat and power (SCHP), with high aggregate thermal and electric power efficiencies, could lead the next wave of popularity in the solar industry.
A press release from Power Panel of Detroit, Michigan:
Power Panel, Inc., a Detroit-based solar panel manufacturer, has commissioned its largest next-generation solar panel system to date on Michigan’s first solar brewery. Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, Michigan, installed Power Panel’s unique solar panel system, which will provide both electricity and heat energy used in the beer making process. The 140 solar panels installed for the project will produce a combined 16.1 kW of electricity, and 89.6 kW of equivalent thermal energy.
Power Panel’s President, Garth Schultz, and other members of the Power Panel team attended a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Corner Brewery to celebrate the commissioning. “This project represents a great example of the use of both electricity and thermal energy from a renewable source in a commercial application,” stated Schultz. According to Matt Greff, owner of Corner Brewery, the project was worth every bit of effort that went into it. Greff detailed, “It feels really good to know that we were able to make changes that are as good for the environment as they are for the bottom line.
Power Panel’s solar panel represents a technological breakthrough in its ability to efficiently capture both electricity and heat from the sun. Power Panel systems are designed to circulate water though the panel in a non-pressurized, drain-back system. This process collects thermal energy from the panel while actively cooling the photovoltaic (PV) cells – increasing electrical output. As a result, Power Panel systems are able to collect four times the amount of energy as compared to traditional PV panels. Thermal energy is stored in Power Panel’s patented modular thermal storage tank.
Power Panel systems are designed using proven technologies and materials, and are easily scaled to meet the requirements of any size facility. The design and construction of the solar panels create a rugged lightweight panel resistant to corrosion, while maintaining the aesthetic appeal and long-term durability over the life of the system. Power Panel’s ease of building integration, high energy density and exceptional LEED values make Power Panel the future of Combined Heat & Power solar technology for distributed energy systems.
The company says a typical household’s total energy usage is 70 percent, or more, thermal energy (heat) and less than 30 percent electricity. Thermal energy is easily stored for long periods in insulated tanks. Because of the higher energy conversion efficiency, up to 80 percent with Power Panel’s system, installed cost of systems is about a dollar per Watt according to the company website.
During the week beginning August 26, 2012, this publication received news announcements regarding nearly 20 megawatts (MW) of solar projects completed, 260 kilowatts (kW) under construction and 325 MW in the development pipeline.
--- Watsonville Coast Produce has announced the completion of a 739.2 kW solar power system on their agricultural distribution facility in Watsonville, California. Located in one of the most fertile areas of California, Watsonville Coast Produce has been in business for over 35 years as a recognized full-line distributor of conventionally grown and certified organically grown produce. Their 44,000 square foot warehouse boasts nearly 450,000 cubic feet of refrigerated space, ensuring that the nearly 700 pallets of fresh produce generally stored is kept at its freshest for customers.
The system consists of 2,400 panels and will generate enough electricity to cover 100 percent of Watsonville Coast Produce's usage.
--- IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, has officially plugged-in the solar panels installed at its Twin Cities store in Bloomington, Minnesota – the state’s largest such photovoltaic array. The 142,000-square-foot PV array consists of a 1,014-kW system.
This installation represents the 31st completed solar project, and 70 percent of its locations, for IKEA in the U.S., with eight more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89 percent of its U.S. locations with a total generation of 38 MW. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and globally has allocated EUR 590 million ($742 million) to invest in renewable energy, focusing on solar and wind during the coming three years.
--- Constellation Energy has announced the completion of a 16.1 MW (DC) grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) solar installation in Emmitsburg, Maryland, as part of the state’s Generating Clean Horizons initiative.
Constellation financed, owns and operates the approximately $50 million solar facility on behalf of its customer, the state of Maryland. Electricity generated by the system is purchased by the state’s Department of General Services and the University System of Maryland under 20-year solar power purchase agreements with Constellation.
The ground-mounted solar power plant was constructed by First Solar, using approximately 220,000 of its advanced thin film PV panels situated on 100 acres of land leased by Constellation from Mount St. Mary’s University. In addition to the 16.1 MW system, Constellation developed a 1.6 MW solar power system on the site that will supply power directly to the university.
--- The scenic island made famous by the popular 1960s television series Gilligan’s Island is going solar: Coconut Island, or Moku o Lo’e, is home to the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology of the University of Hawai’i, which recently signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SolarCity to provide the island’s marine biology institute with renewable solar electricity for the next 20 years. SolarCity will provide University of Hawai’i with solar electricity at a discount to current utility rates, easing budget uncertainties from fluctuating electricity rates. PPAs for renewable energy are gaining popularity in Hawai‘i, where abundant sunshine makes them a natural fit for utilizing clean energy.
SolarCity has begun to install a series of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems on the rooftops with approximately 260 kW of generation capacity, providing a significant portion of the Institute’s energy needs.
In the development pipeline.
--- Tenaska Solar Ventures (TSV) has acquired the Silverleaf photovoltaic solar project, a proposed 160 MW solar energy project under development in Southern California, from Agile Solar Holdings.
The project, to be named Tenaska Silverleaf Solar Energy Center, would be located on approximately 1,100 acres of agricultural land west of El Centro, California., and east of Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West, a 150-MW solar generating facility also being developed by an affiliate of TSV.
Construction is slated to begin as early as 2014, with commercial operation targeted for as early as 2015. The project is expected to provide approximately 250 direct jobs during peak construction and two to six full-time positions after the plant begins operations.
--- SolarVision has successfully executed an $18 million transaction using new market tax credits (NMTC) to fund a 5 MW utility-scale solar power system in Celina, Ohio. The deal, which took 18 months to culminate, was formed out of a comprehensive partnership including SolarVision; New Energy Capital Cleantech Infrastructure Fund; Q.CELLS North America; Finance Fund and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The Celina solar system will provide enough energy to power approximately 500 homes. With the PV solar array system connected to the city of Celina’s own electric company, about 8 percent of the city’s annual energy requirements will be fulfilled by solar energy.
--- Sunvalley Solar, a solar power technology and solar system integration company, announced that it has been awarded a new 112 kW solar system installation contract from a food manufacturing company in Santa Ana, CA.
The installation of this project will start by September 2012.
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