Solar Power – Then there are the people working to get us off oil and coal

Too many people and too little time. But they are trying.

July 28, 2008

Pueblo, CO, USA: Colorado State University-Pueblo to Install 1 Megawatt PV System

Colorado State University-Pueblo soon will be the home of a solar electric system in excess of one megawatt, one of the largest such systems for an education facility in the United States. Under this innovative arrangement with Black Hills Energy (formerly Aquila) and BP Solar, the system is estimated to contribute more than 10 percent of the University’s electricity needs. Installation of the ground-based solar array will begin in July with full operation scheduled for late this fall.

The University will purchase the electricity generated by the solar array from BP Solar, who will install and operate the system. Black Hills Energy will purchase the solar on-site renewable energy credits generated from the system from BP Solar. The system will be constructed on the east side of campus between the physical plant complex and the softball fields on a strip of land that could not easily serve any other purpose.

“We view this as an extension of the commitment the University and the CSU System have made to renewable and sustainable energy,” said CSU-Pueblo President Joseph Garcia. “Because this solar array will be visible from new facilities being constructed to support our new athletic programs and the planned development on our eastern campus border, it will serve as a strong statement about the University’s commitment to supporting sustainable energy resources.”

“We are proud to be able to bring large-scale solar energy to Pueblo,” said Mary Shields, vice president of global sales and marketing for BP Solar. “The CSU-Pueblo campus is the perfect place to demonstrate the clean, efficient power that solar can provide to communities throughout Colorado and other parts of the U.S.”

Garcia added that the new system supports Governor Ritter’s New Energy Economy to make Colorado a hub for solar energy and supports Black Hills Energy’s effort to bring more solar energy to Colorado. As part of its Solar Rebate Program, Black Hills Energy will provide a $200,000 upfront rebate incentive for the installation of the solar system. The program helps Black Hills Energy meet Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard, which requires that five percent of Black Hills Energy’s electricity sales be generated from renewable sources.

“Black Hills Energy is excited to be a part of this project and about the solar energy contribution this system will provide CSU-Pueblo,” said Gary Stone, Black Hills Energy vice president for Colorado electric operations. “Combined with the Black Hills Energy Solar Rebate Program, biomass and wind resources already in use, the CSU-Pueblo solar system builds on Black Hills Energy’s commitment to renewable energy for the communities we serve in Colorado.” With new facilities being brought on-line during the next six months, including a new $11.2 million student recreation center, CSU-Pueblo estimates the completed project will generate savings in utility costs and help absorb the cost of increased demand. Garcia said the project is a winning venture for all three partners.

“In short, this project will help control the University’s utility costs as prices and usage increase, promote the use of sustainable resources, help satisfy Black Hills Energy’s state mandates, and allow BP Solar to bring a major solar project to Southern Colorado,” Garcia said.

Smart Growth Advocates (SGA), a local non-profit, connected the partners last year. “Assembling the combined talents of a team of this caliber ensured results which exceeded expectations. Our goal was to highlight the effectiveness of public-private partnerships to deliver concrete sustainable solutions, and we are elated with the result,” said Vickie Massam, SGA President.

Further details about: BP Solar
July 24, 2008Tempe, AZ, USA: First Solar to Build 10 MW Solar PV Power Plant for Sempra Generation

First Solar will build a 10 megawatt photovoltaic power plant for Sempra Generation near Boulder City, Nevada. First Solar will design, engineer and construct the turnkey PV power plant and will provide monitoring and maintenance services for the plant over its lifetime. Sempra Generation will be the developer for the project, and will own and operate the PV power plant once completed.

Construction began in July, and the 10 MW PV power plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. The solar modules to be deployed in this ground-mount project will be produced at First Solar’s manufacturing facility in Perrysburg, Ohio.

“Sempra Generation has a proven track record for successful energy resource development and we are pleased to work with them to bring additional renewable electric generation to the region,” said Mike Ahearn, chief executive officer of First Solar.

The 10 MW PV power plant will be adjacent to Sempra Generation’s existing El Dorado combined cycle natural gas plant. By co-locating this new PV power plant with existing infrastructure and the associated interconnection and transmission facilities, Sempra Generation will maximize their land and transmission. As a result, the impact to the immediate environment is minimal and the project completion timeline will be shorter. The PV power plant will serve customers in California and the Western United States.

“This new solar project is another step in Sempra Generation’s long-range plan to emerge as a leading renewable-energy developer,” said Michael W. Allman, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. “The combination of Sempra Generation’s experience in developing power-generation projects in the region with First Solar’s expertise in advanced, thin-film photovoltaic solutions is a natural fit. ”

First Solar explains that it is a cost leader in the solar PV industry, driven by an advanced thin film semiconductor manufacturing process. At the end of 2007, over 300 MW of First Solar PV modules had been installed worldwide and First Solar expects to ship 420 to 460 MW of PV modules in 2008. Together with its project partners, First Solar modules have been deployed in several of the largest ground and rooftop PV power plants in the world.

Further details about: First Solar


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