Solar Roundup: Solar Towers in California, MOM’s Market, Freeze, Cummings Properties

by | Mar 19, 2013

Spain-headquartered Abengoa and solar thermal company BrightSource Energy will jointly develop, build and operate two solar power towers in Riverside County, Calif. Abengoa will build the 500 MW Palen Solar Electric Generating System as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor, and will lead the operation and maintenance of the plants once online. BrightSource will provide the solar field technology and plant design. The Palen project consists of two 250 MW units located in a Department of Interior Solar Energy Zone. Together, the plants will produce enough electricity to power 200,000 households. Construction is expected to begin at the end of 2013, with the solar plants coming online in 2016. The Palen site has already received authorization from the California Energy Commission for construction and operation of a 500 MW solar thermal project. In December 2012, BrightSource filed an amendment to the existing permit seeking authorization to instead deploy solar power tower technology. Converting the project to solar power tower technology will reduce the project footprint by 13 percent, from 4,366 acres to approximately 3,800 acres, and use 50 percent less water by deploying a dry-cooling technology. Each unit at Palen will feature a 750-foot-tall tower that allows for a high concentration of heliostats. This design reduces the amount of land required to produce energy – up to 33 percent less than a typical photovoltaic farm. Additionally, the design places mirrors on individual poles placed directly into the ground without concrete foundations, allowing the solar field to be built around the natural contours of the land, to retain native vegetation under the mirrors, and to avoid areas of sensitive vegetation.

MOM’s Organic Market activated rooftop solar panels on its store in Waldorf, Md. The store opened its doors in November, 2012, featuring energy-efficient design, including closed-door coolers, LED lighting and electric car charging stations. The PV system, which was installed by SolarCity, is expected to offset the store’s energy needs by at least 15 percent. MOM’s has been fully wind-powered since 2005. In 2012, MOM’s purchased enough direct wind power and wind power renewable energy certificates to offset 424 percent of its company-wide energy use. The retailer also matches employees’ REC purchases.

Solis Partners has completed a 1.82 MW rooftop solar electric system at clothing manufacturer Freeze‘s manufacturing and distribution facility in Dayton, NJ. Solis Partners designed, engineered and constructed the PV system on the roof of the 320,000-sq-ft facility. The system operates under a full-service power purchase agreement, allowing Freeze to receive all the benefits of onsite solar electricity without any capital cost. The solar array consists of 6,994 panels that will generate more than 2.1 million kWh in the first year or about 80 percent of Freeze’s annual electricity needs.

Massachusetts real estate developer Cummings Properties has contracted ReneSola to provide 460 kW of its solar modules for a rooftop solar system at Cummings Center, a two-million-sq-ft corporate campus and retail center in Beverly, Mass. This is the second project for which Cummings has selected ReneSola modules. The first project, built last fall, was 530 kW, bringing the total contracted by Cummings to nearly 1 MW. Design and construction of the center’s rooftop solar system, as well as the integration of ReneSola’s solar modules, will be performed by Cummings Properties. To date, Cummings has completed seven rooftop solar projects, totaling approximately 1.5 MW, in addition to this most recent project.

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