On the Solar Front: Recent Photovoltaic Projects

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff September 25, 2006

Several significant solar power projects have been completed in recent months. Here are highlights from around the United States and abroad:

Installation and commissioning of a 400-kW solar power system at Timberland’s 429,000-sq.-ft. Ontario distribution center in Southern California was completed in April by Northern Power, Wakefield, Conn.

The system was installed over an unused area of the facility’s truck yard to provide

The system will receive a rebate of over $1.5 million under California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program. By reliably delivering up to 60% of the facility’s energy needs, the new power system is also expected to create a hedge against potential critical peak pricing surcharges of as much as $1 per kilowatt hour, which may be put into effect in California over the next several summers.

In July, Bellingham, Wash.-based Alpha Technologies announced the commissioning of the first phase of a 267-kW solar power plant for the City of Loma Linda, Calif. When fully operational the power plant will provide over 430 MWh of electricity annually—enough to power 70 homes a year.

The solar panels are mounted on the roofs of four city buildings and on shade structures covering parking spaces in the civic center complex. “The panels do‘double duty’ in this configuration,” commented Paul Barlock, president of Alpha Technologies. “They not only generate electricity, they also keep the sun off buildings and cars making them easier and less expensive to cool.”

Atlanta-based GE Energy’s technology has been selected for one of the largest solar power projects in Asia, a three-megawatt facility being developed at Yong Gwang, Korea. GE will supply 200-watt solar power modules for the project, along with balance-of-system equipment. The solar installation is being developed by Korea Hydro Nuclear Power Co., which supplies more than 40% of Korea’s power. Electricity generated by the Yong Gwang solar power plant will be transmitted to the national grid.

Open Energy Corporation, a renewable energy company focused on the design and manufacturing of solar energy products, announced the installation of its SolarSave roofing tiles at the Evelyn Pease Tyner Interpretive Center, located in Glenview, Ill.

Open Energy provided 490 of its building-integrated PV roofing tiles for the project. The 17.5-kW roofing system was installed over 1500 sq. ft., making up a third of the roof’s total surface area. The system is designed to generate an estimated 1,800 kWh per month and up to a total of 20,000 kWh per year.

In July, the company announced that it had completed installation of roofing tiles on the Tahoe Center for Environmental Science at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nev., with a 31.5-kW PV roofing system comprised of 900 PV roof tiles as well as nine 3,500-watt inverters with combiner boxes.