April 18, 2011

Solar’s up!

Solar’s up! 3 new, noteworthy California projects

I don’t normally write about all the solar projects going live in a given week or month, because then this blog would have to become solar-tech pastures. But three on-site projects have just gone live in California that are each noteworthy in their own right. On-site corporate solar investments are compelling to me because these are organizations that have gone beyond purchasing renewable energy from a utility company. They have contributed directly to the cleantech cause.

#1: The Nichols Farm
The reason this one caught my attention is because the technology involved at theNichols Farmpistachio processing facility is concentrator photovoltaic, and the project is being billed as the first of its kind in North America. The 1-megawatt capacity power plant is expected to produce approximately 2,244 kilowatt-hours in its first year of operation, which is about 70 percent of the electricity needs for the pistachio farm’s processing facility. The solar installation takes up six acres next to the plant, and it uses SF-1100 CPV technology fromSolFocus. The units concentrate the solar, meaning they can collect more potential energy on a smaller piece of land than is typically possible with other types of solar. They have tracking units to follow the sunlight supply. The installation was designed and built by Bechtel.

Nichols Farm

Said the Nichols Farm owner Chuck Nichols:

“As an integrated grower, processor and marketer of pistachios, I appreciate the value of harnessing natural resources in an efficient, sustainable manner. That’s why I selected SolFocus CPV from a list of solar options. The high-energy yield combined with the superior environmental footprint of the SolFocus systems made it an ideal choice for our facility, which processes pistachios for farmers throughout the Central Valley of California.”

Read the full story at ZD Net

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