15 February 2012

OPEL and Aquarion complete solar tracker plant

OPEL Technologies Inc of Shelton, CT, USA, which makes high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) panels and solar tracker systems through its subsidiary OPEL Solar Inc, recently completed installation of a tracker-based solar system at the D.W. Loiselle Water Treatment Plant (at the Trap Falls Reservoir in Shelton) belonging to Aquarion Water Company of Bridgeport, CT. Construction began last September and, following the generation of electricity, approval of the facility was given by The United Illuminating Company in December. Both Aquarion and OPEL plan to mark the milestone with an opening ceremony after the winter season.

Founded in 1987, Aquarion is the public water supply company for about 180,000 customer accounts, or more than 580,000 people in 42 cities and towns throughout Connecticut, in addition to six communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Aquarion is the largest investor-owned water utility in New England, and is among the seven largest in the USA.

The new solar facility uses both of OPEL’s trackers: the TF-800 single-axis tracker and the SF-45 dual-axis tracker. Both follow the path of the sun during the day, producing more energy from any brand of solar panel than could be expected from the same panel in a ‘fixed’ or non-tracking installation. The Aquarion project is expected to produce about 43MWh of energy per year (about 22% more energy than would be expected from the same panels in a fixed installation).

The project offsets the energy required to operate the Aquarion water facility. The site is a demonstration site to Aquarion to confirm the effectiveness of implementing this type of system at other sites. As part of the agreement, OPEL built and now operates the solar plant, which also demonstrates to other customers the benefits of solar trackers in climates such as in New England.

“This is the first installation for OPEL Solar at a private- or municipally owned water plant,” says OPEL Technologies’ CEO Leon M. Pierhal. “Having this solar facility to demonstrate to customers visiting our headquarters reinforces the interest in OPEL’s solar tracking systems,” he adds. “In the last half of 2011, we refocused OPEL Solar to meet the increasing worldwide demand for solar tracking systems. Over the recent months, OPEL has been actively responding to numerous proposal requests for utility-scale projects requiring solar trackers for different types of PV panel technologies, thus positioning OPEL’s solar trackers as a business unit in itself, distinct from the CPV business,” he adds. OPEL Solar says that its tracker product line can be matched with any type of solar panel technology, providing greater flexibility for integrators and engineering firms choosing a tracker for a solar field installation.

“By using OPEL Solar’s advanced tracker technology, we are generating much more energy than we could have expected from fixed technologies,” notes Aquarion’s president & CEO Charles V. Firlotte. “We are also happy to showcase OPEL’s trackers for other companies considering solar tracking projects.”


Visit: www.aquarionwater.com

Visit: www.opeltechinc.com

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