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First U.S. Solar City, Net-Zero-Buildings Event, Suntech 18% Efficiency
12 MIT Battery Breakthrough
14 Ukeiley on the EPA
Solar Farm Tests Thin-Film Against Crystalline Modules
In late March, Conergy completed installation of what its solar energy team believes is the world’s first single-axis tracking system using thin-film photovoltaic
panels, for the South San Joaquin Irrigation District (SSJID) in Manteca, Calif. The 419-kilowatt (k W) array is phase two of a 1.6-megawatt (MW) solar farm designed
to handle nearly all the power needs of the DeGroot Water Treatment Plant, which processes 40 million gallons daily for 155,000 customers in Manteca, Tracy,
Escalon and Lathrop. Energy savings of nearly $400,000 a year will
stabilize customer costs during a statewide water crisis. Construction
is supported by $6 million in cash incentives from the California Solar
Initiative program, which pays up to 30 percent of system costs for
businesses, public agencies and homeowners who go solar.
SOU Th SAN JOAqUIN IrrIGATION DISTrIC T
The project tests crystalline against thin-film technologies. Phase
one uses 6,720 Conergy 175-watt crystalline modules mounted on
a single-axis solar tracking system. According to Conergy’s Western
U.S. Project Director David Vincent, First Solar thin-film modules
were selected for phase two because they perform at a lower cost-per-watt than traditional crystalline. “Early indications show the output
per DC k W of First Solar thin-film is about 10 percent higher than
that of crystalline,” he added. Installation time was three months.
Using a Fat Spaniel monitor system, SSJID can also compare
output with a 1-MW Conergy fixed-axis roof-mount system on a
fruit-packing house in nearby Hanford, Calif. Thus far, the single-axis
systems have run 15 to 18 percent ahead of the fixed array.
MAzRiA: it’s the Efficiency, Stupid
Architecture 2030’s founder urges feds to tie stimulus
to energy savings, jobs at Greenprints 2009.
Reducing mortgage rates will do little to stimulate the
economy unless the Federal Reserve links lower interest
rates to home efficiency targets — thereby creating good jobs
in construction and manufacturing. That opportunity was the
focus of Ed Mazria’s keynote address during the Greenprints
2009 Conference and Tradeshow, held March 25–26 in Atlanta. Several hundred sustainable planning and building professionals attended the event, hosted by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority and Southface Energy Institute.
Noting that the Federal Reserve’s current program only
encourages homeowners to refinance, putting the monthly
mortgage difference toward debt or into savings, Mazria
urged the Reserve instead to tie the lower interest rates to
energy-reduction targets and private investment. According to the Architecture 2030 founder, doing it the right way
would ensure that every federal dollar spent will create jobs.
It would also reduce our reliance on coal-fired electricity
for building operations. The proposal follows on “The Two-Year, Nine Million-Jobs Investment Plan” Mazria presented
to Congress in February.
Ironically, the economic crisis and tightening budgets may
already be helping to drive growth in sustainable efforts.
Atlanta’s Green Communities Program, for instance,
is drawing strong interest
from local governments
eager to attract residents
and businesses, according to
the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Maia Davis. Just
months after the program
launch, Davis was hearing
from agencies eager to work
ahead on the program’s next certification levels.
Malaver Inc.’s Tommy Linstroth detailed top “greening”
actions communities nationwide are taking. These include
efforts to enforce building-efficiency upgrades, convert
landfill gas to energy and conserve water through low-flow
Linstroth’s advice for persuading government agencies
to pursue green initiatives: Promote the financial, health
and quality-of-life benefits. For organizations big or small,
government or for-profit, such values are recession-proof.
— Gina R. Johnson
GrEG BrOUGh, SOUThFACE
Several hundred sustainable planning and building professionals attended Greenprints 2009, held
March 25–26 in Atlanta.
Copyright © 2009 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
solartoday.org SOLAR TODAY June 2009 11