Caltech, IKEA, Coke Power Up Clean Power Systems

by | Oct 22, 2010

As more organizations focus on “greening” their facilities, they are adding all types of clean power including solar, wind, and fuel-cell technology.

As an example, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) just fired up its 1.1-megawatt (MW) solar energy system, marking the university’s goal of 1.3-MW of solar power installed by 2010. The system is expected to generate an estimated 1,646,668 kilowatt hours of clean energy in its first full year of operation.

The 1.1-MW system will eliminate approximately 1,150 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in its first year of operation.

More than 4,500 solar panels comprise the system, which will generate electricity from the rooftops of seven structures on the Caltech Campus: Braun Athletic Center, Baxter Hall, the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Cahill Center, the Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology (IST) and the North & South Wilson parking structures.

The installation was made possible through a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Perpetual Energy Systems to host the solar installations without any outlay in capital. Under the PPA, Caltech will purchase the solar energy produced by each installation at a predetermined, fixed rate. The system is owned, operated and maintained by Perpetual.

In Arizona, IKEA powered up its 75,000-square-foot solar array, consisting of two 300-kW systems, each built with approximately 1,300 panels (for a total 2,600), at its store in Tempe.

IKEA Tempe’s solar program will produce approximately one million kWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing at least 760 tons of carbon dioxide (C02). This is the company’s third active solar energy project in the U.S. Gloria Solar designed and installed the custom solar power system.

Other systems are operational in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Pittsburgh, Pa., with plans underway for installing programs at eight IKEA locations in California. A geothermal system also has been installed at a store under construction in Centennial, Colorado.

In New York, Coca-Cola Refreshments’ operations at its Elmsford production facility are being powered by two UTC Power fuel cells that provide 35 percent of the electricity and heat required by the facility.

UTC Power installed and is operating the two PureCell Model 400 fuel cell systems, which are expected to lower the facility’s energy costs and further its sustainability efforts for energy conservation and water stewardship.

The on-site UTC Power fuel cells are capable of operating independent of the local utility power company. If there’s a large-scale power outage, the fuel cells will allow select operations to continue at the facility, while grid power is being restored, says the company.

The company recently signed a contract to install two more UTC Power fuel cells at its bottling plant in East Hartford, Conn.

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