19 March 2010


Victor Valley College installs 1 MW solar power plant

SolFocus Inc of Mountain View, CA, USA says it is installing a 1 megawatt facility of high concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems at Victor Valley College in Victorville, CA. The solar micro-generating facility will produce 2.5 million kilowatt hours per year, which equates to roughly 30% of the college’s electricity demand.

Construction of the six acre plant is currently underway on the college’s main campus, and consists of 122 8.4 kW arrays. When it is completed in May, it will be the largest energy facility of its kind in North America, says SolFocus.

“After reviewing several options for a solar provider, SolFocus demonstrated that it could deliver the best value in solar energy for the college,” said Victor Valley College president Dr Robert Silverman. “This project can be a model for other colleges and universities in meeting energy needs and supporting a green jobs economy.”

Funding for the project was provided in part by a capital construction bond, Measure JJ, approved by voters in November 2008 along with other capital funds. The college will also benefit from around $4m paid over five years through performance based incentives as part of the California Solar Initiative (CSI) program.

“This project between SolFocus and Victor Valley College is the first of its kind in North America,” said Mark Crowley, president and CEO of SolFocus. “SolFocus technology can scale up or down very easily to accommodate a wide variety of energy demands from smaller distributed generation projects to utility-scale projects.”

“This 1 MW installation puts the college and SolFocus in the top echelon of campus installations,” added Crowley. “A small proportion of the 4,000 college and university campuses in the US have begun solar projects, so the market opportunity for this sector is promising as the CPV industry scales up to utility deployments.”

SolFocus CPV technology employs a system of patented reflective optics to concentrate sunlight 650 times onto small, highly efficient solar cells. The SolFocus SF-1100S system deployed at the college uses approximately 1/1,000th of the active, expensive solar cell material compared to traditional photovoltaic panels. In addition, the cells utilized in SolFocus CPV systems have over twice the efficiency of traditional silicon photovoltaic cells.

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