LACKLUSTER RESULTS FROM COLORADO INTEGRATED SOLAR PROJECT
Advertised as the world’s first hybrid solar/coal power plant built near Palisade on the Western Slope, Xcel Energy and Abengoa Solar partnered on the demonstration project which uses solar parabolic trough technology to supplement the use of coal. Initially, it was expected to reduce the emissions generated by the Cameo Station’s Unit 2 plant by three to five percent, and there were hopes that it could jump to even 10 percent.
The system focuses solar energy on mineral oil, which is then passed through a heat exchanger where it’s used to preheat the water used by the coal-powered part of the 49MW plant.
Overall the performance related to coal and emissions savings were not as good as Abengoa predicted or what Public Service expected. The lower than expected results may be attributable to the small scope of the demonstration project. The news comes from the final report of the Colorado Integrated Solar Project, which you can download here (25-page PDF).
However, the integration into the feedwater cycle of an existing fossil facility was successful. The project was not designed to maximize efficiency or performance. MORE …
SOLAR BOOMING BUT NATIONAL GROWTH UNEVEN
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council says strong consumer demand combined with rebates are driving installation of photovoltaics, solar heating and concentrating solar technologies.
However, according to the organization’s latest research, the 124,000 installations counted in their report are concentrated in only a few states and not widespread across the entire country.
Not surprisingly, California is the growth of solar, but Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Texas have all at least doubled their installed photovoltaics in the past two years.
Growth in photovoltaics was jumped 60% in 2010 from the preceding year for commercial and residential installations, according to the report. Solar water heating installations rose by 6% in 2010; with 84% of that growth fueled by homeowners.
Authors of the IREC report credit the federal solar investment tax credit and it’s long term extension for the boost in solar business.
BOULDER VALLEY SCHOOLS GET PV SYSTEMS
Sixteen Boulder Valley schools will get solar panels through a deal that requires the district to pay only the cost of the energy.
The district this week signed a 20-year contract with SolarCity, a solar power and energy efficiency service provider that will install the panels. Now, Boulder Valley has 14 schools with solar panels, paid for mainly through grants.
“We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to buy solar energy for basically the same cost we would be paying Xcel,” said Ghita Carroll, Boulder Valley’s sustainability coordinator.
SolarCity is using a combination of Xcel and federal rebates to pay for the panels. SolarCity also will be responsible for maintaining and monitoring the system. SolarCity, in turn, will sell the solar power to Boulder Valley over 20 years. The cost will remain the same, 3.8 cents per kilowatt hour or 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour depending on the school, each year.
“It gives us price stability,” Carroll said.
Schools that will receive the new panels are Angevine Middle, Aspen Creek K-8, Boulder High, Broomfield High, Centaurus High, Coal Creek, Columbine Elementary, Creekside Elementary, Eisenhower Elementary, Eldorado K-8, Foothill Elementary, Heatherwood Elementary, Manhattan Middle, Monarch High, Sanchez Elementary and Southern Hills Middle.
AUDIT CRITICIZES AF ACADEMY PAYMENT ON SOLAR ARRAY
The Air Force Academy’s decision to pay a local utility $18.3 million in advance to build a solar power array cost taxpayers more than $676,000 in potential interest, military auditors said.
It also left the school with no leverage when the project got behind schedule, the Defense Department inspector general said in a report issued last month.
The audit, first reported by the Air Force Times, said federal rules called for the school to pay only $1.2 million in advance and pay out the rest as the project progressed. The government could have earned interest on the unspent balance, the report said. MORE …
SKYFUEL WINS RECOGNITION
Parabolic trough maker SkyFuel was honored as Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Technology Supplier of the Year at last week’s CSP Today USA Summit in Las Vegas. The award recognizes the Arvada company’s successful attention to cost reduction and benefit to local supply industries, and validates SkyFuel’s commercial approach which navigates the fine line between cutting edge innovation and proven, bankable technology. A select panel of industry experts chose SkyFuel over finalists Siemens and Schott.
DENVER FEDERAL CENTER SOLAR WORK TO EXCEED ORIGINAL PRODUCTION EXPECTATIONS
LAKEWOOD — The U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Denver Federal Center (DFC) campus is nearing the completion of its nearly seven megawatt solar photovoltaic project.
In 2009, E Light Wind and Solar, Inc./Centerre, a Colorado small business joint venture company, was awarded a design-build contract for the installation of the additional solar at the DFC. This project combined, with an existing 1.2 MW solar park, will provide more than 15% of the DFC’s electrical needs annually.
The combined capacity of all of the solar arrays is enough to power 1,064 residential homes for one year. The project’s final phase, originally scheduled for 3.45 MW, has been increased to 3.5 MW. All told, the project is GSA’s largest solar installation across the United States, and all campus PV is expected to be online by the end of the year.
ADVANCED ENERGY CUTS Q2 OUTLOOK ON DECLINING PANEL PRICES
Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (AEIS: News) based in Fort Collins has lowered its outlook for the second quarter, citing declines in solar panel prices and negative dynamics of the renewables industry.
The industrial power conversion product company now expect second quarter earnings at the lower end of its previous guidance. The company had previously projected earnings of $0.36 to $0.44 per share for the second quarter.
Advanced Energy now expects to report revenue between $137 million and $140 million for the second quarter, which is below the range of $148 million to $160 million projected on May 2 previously. Seven Wall Street analysts currently expect revenues of $154.0 million for the quarter.
Dr. Hans Betz, chief executive officer, said results were primarily impacted by changing solar market conditions driven by panel price declines, short lead-times for components, and permitting and financing delays.
Betz said,” The performance of our renewables business drove our lower than expected second quarter revenue, while our thin film business performed in-line with our expectations.”