Columbia residents join solar energy projects to save money, environment

In 2007, Andy Guti installed nine solar panels on his old house in northeast Columbia and immediately began to see a drop on his utility bills.

Guti was the first customer in Columbia to join the city's net metering system; for several months, his residential utility bills were as low as $15 per month.

"The first few months we had them, we generated more electricity than we used," he said.

Since the city first developed solar projects in 2007, both solar energy production and solar energy demand has increased, said Connie Kacprowicz, spokeswoman for Columbia Water and Light.

According to the city's 2011 Renewable Energy Report, the amount of solar energy increased from zero megawatt-hours in 2007 to nine megawatt-hours in 2010 — almost enough to power an average household for one year. Customers like Guti have contributed to that energy production.

Columbia started offering a net metering system for electric customers interested in private renewable energy systems four years ago, Kacprowicz said. Residents can sign an agreement with the city and install solar panels on private property. The city keeps track of the amount of electricity being produced and consumed and bills the customer for the difference at the end of each month.

Currently, the city has agreements with three residents.

"From a utility standpoint, solar is great because it produces a lot of electricity in the summertime, when demand is high," Kacprowicz said.

But the cost of solar panel installation is still steep, she said. "That's why you have incentives to get people to do it."

Solar panels cost about $14,000 to install, Guti said. But his motivation was simple: He was interested in energy efficiency and concerned about the environment. He wanted to reduce his carbon footprint.

Guti said that once the solar panels were in place, he could see the difference right away, even though he only used the house he owned as an office and consumed little energy.

For an average household, however, there could be even bigger savings.

Last summer, Joyce Pfaff bought Guti’s house and moved in. She said her electric bills were much less compared to what she paid before.

"Last month, when it was so hot, and I had air conditioning on every day, my electric bill was $54, and that included tax," Pfaff said.

She said she used to have set money aside to make sure she could cover her utilities.

"I'm not even worrying about that now," she said. "This is wonderful."

Because the technology is still expensive, installing a private system is voluntary.

"If you are going to install solar at your home, you probably are doing it because you want to do it for the environment," Kacprowicz said. "Not so much to save money."

Aur Beck owns Advanced Energy Solutions, an Illinois-based company that provides solar installation in eight states. Beck, who helped install solar panels on Guti’s house, said that for every home project he has helped set up in Missouri, the resident had seen payback within six years.

Beck said that Columbia has the most forward-thinking utility services in the Midwest.

"They had net metering before any utility in the Midwest," he said. "And they implemented programs almost two years in advance of everyone."

Private businesses produce solar energy for the city through the Solar One program, which has a goal of producing 1 percent of Columbia’s electric portfolio from solar power by the year 2023, Kacprowicz said.

Under Solar One, businesses buy and install solar panels and sell the energy that is generated to the city. The electricity goes into the city's power grid and is then divided into 100-kilowatt hour blocks to sell.

In November 2008, Columbia Water and Light started two Solar One projects — the West Ash Pump Station on Bernadette Drive and the Quaker Oats plant on Route B. Each is expected to produce 70 blocks annually, Kacprowicz said.

The city has also contracted with Bright City Lights, a retail store at 1400 Heriford Road.

Kay Wax, owner of Bright City Lights, said her store installed 24 solar panels in August 2010. She said she hopes to break even in 10 years.

"I had to get a loan for all of the panels and labor," she said.

Wax said she joined the program because she believes in sustainability and protecting the environment.

"I think the message is, we are trying to get people to think of alternative energy sources," she said. "That's what my purpose is."

As a result of the additional solar projects, 250 additional blocks of electricity became available in 2010. So far, 240 of these have been sold, Kacprowicz said.

In 2010, the city signed a lease with an Omaha-based company to provide another source of solar energy. Free Power installs solar panels on sites developed by the city as an inexpensive energy alternative.

"They sell us the energy for $54 per mega-hour, which is about the same cost as new coal fire resources," Kacprowicz said.

However, the city's investment in future solar projects will depend on cost more than anything else, Kacprowicz said.

"The hope is the cost will go down," she said. "If it goes down, it will be a more valuable energy source."


Solar Festival San Antonio 2011

Solar Fest 2011 was held at Maverick Park off Broadway, which includes a morning fun run, live music, kids' activities and dozens of solar exhibitors. More than 90 different exhibits about solar energy were on display.

Solar Fest is a real party complete with food, music, dunking booths and even hamster balls and climbing walls.. There are five bands played on a solar-powered stage, while visitors toured the 90 booths that fill Maverick Parknear downtown, peddling all manner of solar-powered or green technology. Kids played in giant hamster balls and adults lined up for free tree seedlings. The food booths cooked over open fires.

Two giant see through plastic balls delighted the children who transported themselves from the center of Maverick Park to the northwest corner across the grass and spun their way back.

While the children were entertained by Sparky the Fire Dog and various mascots, parents were getting serious about opportunities to reduce the high cost of energy.

To make it even greener, smart-phone users could scan a bar code, printed on posters at the entrances, to download a site map to their device, thus reducing the need and expense of printing paper maps.

The 100 percent renewably powered event also kicks off the second phase of Solar San Antonio's Bring Solar Home campaign, which connects residents with installers and lenders who offer low-interest solar loans.

Planta Fotovoltaico Casas de Los Pinos

The Planta Fotovoltaico Casas de Los Pinos is a 10 MW photovoltaic power plant in Castile-La Mancha, Spain. The facility was commissioned in November 2007, and was developed by Renovalia Solar SL. The plant consists of 120 Solaria and Suntech units of 100 kW, with a total of 69,850 photovoltaic panels.
Casas de Los Pinos Solar Power Plant
Country Spain
Locale Castile-La Mancha
Status Operational
Commission date November 2007
Developer(s) Renovalia Solar SL

Solar farm information
Type Flat-panel PV
Photovoltaic modules 120

Power generation information
Installed capacity 10 MW

Guadarranque or Cádiz solar power plant

Guadarranque solar power plant (Cádiz solar power plant, Spanish: Parque Solar Guadarranque, or Planta Solar Guadarranque) is a photovoltaic solar power plant in the Guadarranque industrial park in San Roque, Cádiz, Spain. The plant is owned and operated by Endesa.

In 2007, Endesa received a municipal permit to build a 20.1 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar power plant. Construction on the first stage of the plant began in July 2007 and was finished in September 2008. The first stage has installed capacity of 12.3 MW and it covers 37 hectares (91 acres). It consists of 123 photovoltaic installations, each including 550 220-watt solar panels. The first stage cost €90 million and its annual generation is estimated about 24 GWh.

Electricity production at the plant will increase during the summer months due to the higher number of daylight hours. This will help to meet the significant rise in power demand in Andalusia in the summer.
Guadarranque solar power plant
Official name Parque Solar Guadarranque
Country Spain
Status Operational
Commission date September 2008
Construction cost €90 million
Owner(s) Endesa

Solar farm information
Photovoltaic modules 67,650

Power generation information
Installed capacity 12.3 MW
Maximum capacity 20.1 MW
Annual generation 24 GW·h

Davidson County Photovoltaic Solar Plant

The Davidson County Photovoltaic Solar Plant will be one of the largest photovoltaic solar farms in the United States when completed in 2011. The 21.5-megawatt power station is located in the heart of North Carolina, near the community of Linwood. SunEdison will build the array of photovoltaic panels, and Duke Energy plans to buy all the output from the solar farm. The solar farm is to be located on North Carolina Highway 47, off New Jersey Church Road.

Davidson County Board of Commissioners agreed to subsidize the Photovoltaic Solar Plant project. This included $1.8 million to go into land grading and multiple cash payments beginning in July 2009, and going through 2011. Another $127 million has been raised from investors. The solar farm will create 80 jobs during construction, and three jobs will be needed in order to maintain the power facility. In addition, SunEdison will receive an annual refund of certain taxes pertaining to their various constructions due to modified legislation to include solar energy projects. SunEdison had been looking at an almost ten times larger 2,400-acre (9.7 km2) piece of land off of Interstate 85 near Lexington, but the owner declined to sell the property. However the company had already spent $134,000 researching to see if that site would work.

One of the driving forces behind the construction of this solar farm, and SunEdison's presence in North Carolina altogether, is due to a state law passed in 2007 that requires public utilities such as Duke Energy to obtain a minimum of 12.5% of their power from renewable energy by 2021. The farm has a rating of 21.5 megawatts, which translates to 18 megawatts of peak AC power. Every year that the solar farm is in use, it will offset 32 million pounds of carbon dioxide. SunEdison claims that once complete, the power plant will generate enough energy to power more than 2,600 homes.

Mesquite Solar Energy 1

The Mesquite Solar 1 is a photovoltaic solar power plant to be built in Arlington, Maricopa County, Arizona, owned by Sempra Generation. Phase 1 will have a nameplate capacity of 150 megawatts. The project has enough land for at least 600 MW.

Mesquite Solar 1 will use 800,000 solar panels bought from Suntech Power. The EPC contractor is Zachry Holdings. Construction is expected to begin in 2011 and be completed in 2013.Mesquite 1 is projected to generate more than 350 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually (an average power of 40 MW).

Phase 1 will cost about $600 million. SempraGeneration has chosen Suntech Power Holdings and Zachry Holdings to design and construct its Mesquite Solar 1 project. When completed in late 2012, the Arizona plant will produce 150MW of electricity and sell it to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The site is located 30 miles outside of Suntech’s new Goodyear manufacturing facility, which will provide panels for the project. U.S. EPC provider Zachry will manage the installation of the 800,000 panels during the first phase.

Mildura Solar Concentrator Power Station

The Mildura Solar Concentrator Power Station is a photovoltaic (PV) heliostat solar concentrator power station is to be built in Mildura, Victoria by Solar Systems. The 154 megawatt (MW), A$420 million, project will generate 270,000 MWh per year, enough for more than 45,000 homes. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 400,000 tonnes per year, and will also aid in reducing salinity and create jobs during manufacture, construction and operation. Full commissioning is expected in 2013, with the first stage to be completed in 2010.

The "CS500" dish concentrator photovoltaic (PV) unit design has 112 curved reflecting mirrors, which track the sun throughout the day. The combination of mirror profile, mounting framework, and solar receiver will deliver concentrated solar energy to each PV module. The tracking mechanism allows electricity to be produced during the day whenever the sun is more than 5° above the horizon. Direct current electricity from the receivers is passed through an electronic inverter that produces grid-quality alternating current. Transformers step up the voltage to the requirement of the local network at the point of connection. Advantages claimed for this design include:

  • "The CS500 dish has a longer effective operating life than traditional PV. Because the receiver is only a small area of photovoltaic (PV) (a 35 kW CS500 dish has a PV area of 0.23m² whereas 35 kW of traditional flat plate would use approximately 350m²) maintenance is simple, quick and affordable. The modules include a specially-designed filter that removes harmful UV radiation that reduces the operating efficiency and life of traditional PV technology. The modules are also cooled, which increases their effective operating life and their efficiency".
  • "The CS500 dish costs significantly less (per installed watt) than traditional photovoltaic (PV) technology. This is despite the fact that the CS500 is new and still near the top of its cost curve. Advances in technology, maturity and volume production will further increase the gap".
"The CS500 produces more electricity (per installed watt) than fixed flatplate photovoltaic (PV) technology - by up to 30%. This is because it tracks the sun and operates at lower temperatures".

California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR)

The California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) is a proposed 250 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, to be built by SunPower in the Carrizo Plain, northeast of California Valley. Commenting on this project and a nearby 550 MW project announced at the same time, Daniel Kammen, the director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at University of California, Berkeley, said "This scale is ten times larger than what was being talked about awhile ago".

On August 14, 2008, Pacific Gas and Electric announced an agreement to buy all the power from the power plant. A Conditional Use Permit application for the project was filed with the County of San Luis Obispo Planning and Building Department on January 14, 2009. On November 30, 2010, NRG Energy announced that it would buy CVSR from SunPower for "up to $450 million". SunPower is seeking a loan guarantee from the federal government to cover the remainder of the $1 billion construction cost.

The California Valley Solar Ranch project proposes to utilize 1,966 acres (796 ha) of a 4,365-acre (1,766 ha) site of former grazing land for solar power generation, the project would utilize high-efficiency, crystalline PV panels designed and manufactured by SunPower, formerly a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor. The project will include up to 88,000 solar tracking devices to hold PV panels that will track the sun across the sky. The project would deliver approximately 550 gigawatt-hours (GW·h) annually of renewable energy and will have a capacity of 250 MW. While the plant would only have a capacity factor of 25%, its power would be generated during the middle of the day, when demand for electricity — and price — is much higher than at night.

The Carrizo Plain is home to 13 species listed as endangered either by the state or federal government, including the San Joaquin Kit Fox, Giant Kangaroo Rat, and the California Condor. SunPower has been working with the community to protect local wildlife habitat and migration patterns, and reduce the amount of traffic in the area during construction. The company recently announced a plan to create a reserve for Giant Kangaroo Rat in order to address concerns about habitat destruction.

If approved, the California Valley Solar Ranch project is expected to begin power delivery in 2011, and be fully operational by 2013. California utilities are mandated to get 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2010.

AV Solar Ranch One

The AV Solar Ranch One is a proposed 2,093 acre solar photovoltaic power project in the Antelope Valley which received unanimous Board of Supervisors approval on November 25, 2010, despite objections from defense contractor Northrop Grumman. The development will include 2.25 miles (3.62 km) of transmission lines and is "expected to provide clean energy to about 75,000 homes". According to First Solar, the project will create 400 jobs over a three year period and provide $50 million in local taxes.

When fully operational, the 230MW AV Solar Ranch One project will generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of about 75,000 average homes per year, displacing approximately 140,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year—the equivalent of taking about 30,000 cars off the road.

Topaz Photovoaltic Solar Farm

Topaz Photovoltaic Solar Farm is a proposed 550 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, to be built by First Solar, Inc. in the Carrizo Plain, northwest of California Valley at a cost of over $1 billion. Pacific Gas and Electric announced an agreement to buy all the power from the solar power plant. Commenting on this project and a nearby 250 MW project announced at the same time, Daniel Kammen, the director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at University of California, Berkeley, said "This scale is ten times larger than what was being talked about awhile ago".

OptiSolar, the instigator of the project, had optioned 9.5 square miles (25 km2) of ranchland, In November 2009, First Solar announced that it had purchased options to an additional 640 acres (260 ha) from Ausra's canceled Carrizo Energy Solar Farm. First Solar would reconfigure the project to minimize the use of land covered by the Williamson Act.

The Topaz Photovoltaic Solar Farm project would utilize thin-film PV panels designed and manufactured by First Solar. The project would deliver approximately 1,100 gigawatt-hours (GW·h) annually of renewable energy. The plant's power would be generated during the middle of the day, when demand for electricity — and price — is much higher than at night. The project is expected to begin construction in 2011 and be fully operational by 2014. California utilities are mandated to get 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2010.

In late October 2010 the San Luis Obispo Department Planning and Building released a Draft Environmental Impact report for which is now accepting public comment.

Bavaria Solarpark

Bavaria Solarpark, is a 10 Megawatt (MW) photovoltaic power plant separated into 3 different locations in Germany. Solarpark Mühlhausen is 6.3 MW located in Mühlhausen, Germany. Solarpark Günching is 1.9 MW located in Günching, Germany. Solarpark Minihof is 1.9 MW located in Minihof, Germany. The Bavaria Solarpark constructed by SunPower consists of 57,600 Sharp solar panels on SunPower Trackers. The total plant occupies 25 hectares.

Alamosa photovoltaic solar power plant

Alamosa photovoltaic solar power plant, is a 8.22 MWp photovoltaic power plant located in San Luis Valley, Colorado, USA. The power plant was developed by SunEdison, sells all output to Xcel Energy, and was completed in December 2007. The solar power plant occupies 83 acres (34 ha) of land, and provided enough power to supply 1400 homes in 2008. Alamosa photovoltaic power plant is the largest producer of photovoltaic power in the United States in 2008. Colorado Xcel customers pay approximately 2% more for electricity to subsidize renewable energy projects. The plant has received some criticism, saying that the amount of land used is large in comparison to the amount of power generated.

Gottelborn Solar Park - Solarpark Zeche Göttelborn

Gottelborn Solar Park is a photovoltaic power plant located in Göttelborn, Germany. The power plant was constructed by City Solar in two stages, stage 1 finished in August, 2004, and stage 2 finished in November 2007.

Gottleborn Solar Park known as Solarpark Zeche Göttelborn. This photovoltaic power plant has capacity of 8.4MW

The first stage of the plants construction of 23,500 Photowatt International solar modules estimated at around 14% efficiency, and outputting 4 MWp. The first stage of the station occupied 50,000 m2 The second stage made the total of modules to 50,000.

Monte Alto photovoltaic power plant

The Monte Alto photovoltaic power plant in Spain has a generating capacity of 9.55 megawatts peak (MWp) and will generate 14 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per annum. It cost 65 million euros [US$87 million].

The installation of Monte Alto photovoltaic power plant covers an area of 51 hectares on agricultural land near the locality of Milagro (Navarre) and contains 889 solar structures, of which 864 are equipped with automated solar tracking. The rest are fixed structures adapted to the relief of the terrain.

In five years Acciona Energy has developed seven "solar gardens" in Navarre with a total capacity of 20 MWp, and another two are under construction in Castilla-La Mancha. Overall, the company's installed capacity is 23 megawatts (MW), through the approximately 3,000 automated solar monitoring structures, and represents a total investment of 177 million euros [US$236 million] shared among more than 2,000 owners. The yield from these investments is somewhere between 8 and 10% and the payback of the investment is estimated at around 10 years.

Pocking Solar Park

The Pocking Solar Park is a 10 megawatt (MWp) photovoltaic solar power plant. Construction and assembly of the power plant started in August 2005 and was completed in March 2006. On the former military training area in the Lower-Bavarian town of Pocking, sheep are now grazing under and around the 57,912 photovoltaic modules.

Kunming Shilin Solar Power Plant

Kunming Shilin Solar Power plant is the largest photovoltaic power plant in China. The plant located about 70 kilometers southeast of Kunming.

The Kunming Shilin Solar Power plant project will cost RMB 9.1 billion (yuan) and will be built in the town of Shilin in Kunming Shilin Yi Autonomous County. It will be divided into a popular science zone and experimental demonstration zone generating 77 million kilowatt hours and 118 kilowatt hours a year each. Shilin-based solar energy photovoltaic power station will have a capacity of 166MW and will be China's largest one upon completion. The solar power plant, which will be entirely completed in 2015, is designed to generate 195 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, reducing 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission.

Beneixama photovoltaic power plant

Beneixama photovoltaic power plant is a 20 MW photovoltaic power plant located in Beneixama, Spain. The plant consists of approximately 100,000 solar panels, encompassing an area of approximately 500,000 m2. The panels are City Solar PQ 200 modules made of polycrystalline silicon solar cells. In addition, 200 units of Siemens photovoltaic inverters "Sinvert Solar 100 Master" were installed.

The Beneixama photovoltaic power plant was built by City Solar, and completed in September, 2007.

Calasparra Photovoltaic Power Plant

Calasparra Photovoltaic Power Plant (Planta solar fotovoltaico Calasparra) is a photovoltaic power station in Calasparra, Murcia in Spain. The project consists of different production units. Calasparra II is a 6.67 MW ground-mounted unit with estimated annual output of 11.82 GWh. Calasparra III is a 6.6 MW units with estimated annual output of 11.7 GWh. The project was developed by FRV and constructed by Gestamp Solar.


Seoul Solar Power Plant

Seoul will launch a Seoul Solar Power Plant construction project to build the largest solar power plant in the metropolitan area.

The Seoul Solar Power Plant, scheduled for completion in November, is expected to be able to produce some 43-hundred kilowatts of power on a daily basis, which translates into some one-point-six million kilowatts annually.

Once the plant begins operations, the nation is expected to see a reduction of some 989 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Before 2020, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to be capable of supporting some 100-thousand households with power from fuel cells and hot water through the use of solar energy.

Rothenburg photovoltaic solar park

The Rothenburg Solar Park is a photovoltaic power plant in Rothenburg, Oberlausitz in Germany. It has a capacity of 20 MWp. The solar park is equipped with 273,240 First Solar modules, and 11 Siemens central inverters. The project was commissioned in 2009.

Gehrlicher Solar AG officially inaugurated the solar park at Rothenburg Airport this week-end in the presence of Heike Böhm, Mayor of Rothenburg and Bernd Lange, District Administrator of Görlitz.

The Rothenburg photovoltaic solar park consists of three partial areas with a total of about 70 hectares. That amounts to about the size of almost 100 soccer fields. 273,240 thin-film modules from First Solar, turn sunlight into energy, which is then transformed from AC to DC current by eleven Siemens central inverters and fed into the power grid.

A total of about ten million single parts and approximately 600 kilometers of cable were used in the construction. The Rothenburg photovoltaic solar park has an output of 20.5 MWp.

After the ceremony, and within the framework of an open house event, the citizens of the region had the opportunity to visit the Rothenburg photovoltaic solar park. This solar power plant has a peak output of 20.5 megawatts and is one of the largest of its kind in Saxony.

Gehrlicher, a company specialized in projecting photovoltaic roof-mounted and free-field installations up to a megawatt range, constructed this solar power plant on the site of a former military airport near Rothenburg/Oberlausitz. This installation is exemplary because it was constructed on a fallow area, which was orginally used for military purposes.

District Admnistrator Bernd Lange highlighted in his speech the importance of solar energy for the municipal district of Görlitz. "In view of the increasing consume of energy and rising energy prices, in addition to fossile energy sources, we should also give alternative energy sources a chance. Thanks to the good solar radiation we have in the municipal district of Görlitz, we are able to use photovoltaics sensibly as part of the energy mix.

The solar power plant at Rothenburg Airport, with its 20.5 MWp, is one of the largest Gehrlicher has constructed until now.

Stadtwerke München (the public utilities of the city of Munich) have a 40% participation in the solar park as part of their "Renewable Energies Expansion Offensive". Gehrlicher Solar holds 34.6 percent of the shares, a private investor holds a further 25.4 percent.

Solana Solar Power Plant

The Solana Solar Power Plant planned to begin operation in 2013, to be located near Gila Bend, Arizona, about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Phoenix. It will be built and operated by the Spanish company Abengoa Solar, and will have a total capacity of 280 megawatts (MW), which is enough to power 70,000 homes while avoiding around 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Its name is the Spanish term for "sunny spot".

Arizona Public Service (APS) has contracted to purchase 100% of the power output generated from Solana Solar Power Plant, to meet the Arizona Corporation Commission's (ACC) mandate that the state's regulated utilities provide 15% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. APS will pay about 14 ¢/kW·h. The Solana Solar Power Plant, originally planned to open in 2011, will cost an estimated $2 billion. On July 3, 2010, US President Barack Obama announced that the US Department of Energy had conditionally committed to offering a $1.45 billion loan guarantee to support construction of the plant.

The Solana Solar Power Plant will employ a proprietary concentrating solar power (CSP) trough technology developed by Abengoa, and will cover an area of 1,900 acres (770 ha). Construction is expected to create about 1,500 construction jobs; once completed, the plant will employ 85 full-time workers. Solar thermal plants use substantially more water for cooling than other thermal generating technologies. Nevertheless, the Sierra Club supports the Solana plant, because it will be built on private land, and use "75 to 85 percent less water than the current agricultural use."

Serpa solar power plant

Construction of the 11 megawatt Serpa solar power plant began in June 2006 and was completed as planned in January 2007, at the cost of 58 million euro. The Serpa solar power plant facility, located in Serpa, in Portugal's Alentejo agricultural region, 200 kilometers (124 miles) southeast of Lisbon. The plant uses SunPower subsidiary PowerLight's PowerTracker system to follow the sun's daily path across the sky and generate more electricity than conventional fixed-mounted systems. The plant provides enough electricity to supply approximately 8,000 homes.

The Serpa solar power plant was developed by the Portuguese company Catavento and it incorporates photovoltaic modules from SunPower, Sanyo, Sharp and Suntech. General Electric Financial Services provided the financing for the project as part of its Ecomagination program.

Generating electricity from the sun with no fuel costs or emissions, the Serpa solar power plant is on a 60-hectare (150-acre) hillside and is a model of clean power generation integrated with agriculture. The project supports a European Union initiative by saving more than 30,000 tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions compared to equivalent fossil fuel generation. The EU agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020, from 1990 levels.

Portugal relies heavily on imported fossil fuels, and its carbon dioxide emissions have increased 34 percent since 1990, which is among the fastest rates in the world. To address this, the country is implementing some of the world's most advanced incentives for installing renewable energy. The Serpa solar power plant project relies on a preferential tariff mandated by the Portuguese government.

Solar power enjoys widespread support in Portugal, with the backing of 77 percent of the population, according to a European Commission study published in January 2007.

Nellis Solar Power Plant

The Nellis Solar Power Plant is located within Nellis Air Force Base in Clark County, Nevada, on the northeast side of Las Vegas. The Nellis solar energy system will generate in excess of 25 million kilowatt-hours (kW·h) of electricity annually and supply more than 25 percent of the power used at the base. The system was inaugurated in a ceremony on December 17, 2007, with Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons activating full operation of the 14 megawatt (MW) array.[2][3]

The Nellis Solar Power Plant coccupying 140 acres (57 ha) of land leased from the Air Force at the western edge of the base, this ground-mounted solar system employs an advanced sun tracking system, designed and deployed by SunPower. The system contains approximately 70,000 solar panels, and the peak power generation capacity of the plant is approximately 13 MW AC. This means the ratio of average to peak output, or capacity factor, of this plant is around 22%.

The Nellis Solar Power Plant energy generated will support more than 12,000 military and civilians at Nellis who are responsible for Air Force advanced combat training, tactics development and operational testing. Construction began on April 23, 2007, and operation of the first 5 MW began on October 12, 2007.

Renewable portfolio standard

In 1997 Nevada passed a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) as part of their 1997 Electric Restructuring Legislation (AB 366) It required any electric providers in the state to acquire actual renewable electric generation or purchase renewable energy credits so that each utility had 1 percent of total consumption in renewables. However, on June 8, 2001, Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn signed SB 372, at the time the country's most aggressive renewable portfolio standard. The law requires that 15 percent of all electricity generated in Nevada be derived from new renewables by the year 2013.

The 2001 revision to the RPS keeps in place Nevada's commitment to expand solar energy resources by requiring that at least 5 percent of the renewable energy projects must generate electricity from solar energy.

In June 2005, the Nevada legislature passed a bill during a special legislative session that modified the Nevada RPS (Assembly Bill 03). The bill extends the deadline and raised the requirements of the RPS to 20 percent of sales by 2015

Expansion of Nellis Solar Power Plant

An extension of the plant, which could generate another 18 megawatts of power, has been proposed. The Air Force has not yet decided whether to have the extension built, and its potential cost and size have not been determined, but the military sees considerable operational advantages in solar power.

Nellis Solar Power Plant
Country United States
Locale Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
Coordinates 36°15′30″N 115°03′10″W / 36.25833°N 115.05278°W / 36.25833; -115.05278 / 36.25833; -115.05278
Commission date December 17, 2007
Owner(s) Nellis Air Force Base

Solar farm information
Type Flat-panel PV
Photovoltaic modules 70,000
Land area 140 acres (0.6 km2)

Power generation information
Installed capacity 14 MW

El Coronil Solar Power Plant

The El Coronil Solar Power Plant (Parque Solar El Coronil) is a photovoltaic power station in El Coronil, Spain. The project includes different generating units. El Coronil I is a 10.08 MWp project that is equipped with 386 2X trackers, and 51,794 Yingli polycrystalline photovoltaic modules, and 24 Siemens inverters of 400 kW. The annual production capacity is 20 GWh. El Coronil II has a capacity of 10.2 MWp and it is equipped with 53,206 Yingli polycrystalline photovoltaic modules, and 24 inverters of 400 kW.