Rooftop, Solar, Utility Integration

Busy Times in California for PowerLight

Powerlight has had no shortage of work lately in California. The company has recently put the finishing touches on three large solar arrays in both Fresno and Vallejo, California.

Fresno and Vallejo California – March 26, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The first system was a 231 kW PowerGuard PV system, mounted on the roof of OK Produce’s distribution facilities in Fresno. The other two are on the roofs of Vallejo City Hall and the John F. Kennedy Library. Those systems are rated 108 kW and 224 kW respectively. Fresno Mayor Alan Autry and other officials joined with OK Produce of Fresno in dedicating the largest rooftop solar electric system in the Central Valley. “You couldn’t ask for a better area than the Central Valley for solar power,” said Fresno Mayor Alan Autry. “We’ve got plenty of sun. It’s a vital key to our agricultural success. And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t also use it to create energy.” The 231 kW PowerGuard solar system, mounted on the roof of OK Produce’s distribution facilities in Fresno, was designed and installed by PowerLight. The PV system incorporates AstroPower Inc. APex solar modules, manufactured using AstroPower’s proprietary high-speed, continuous-sheet Silicon-Film process. “We’re very proud to be deploying the largest rooftop solar system in the Central Valley,” said OK Produce’s Brady Matoian. “This has been a dream come true for me. Our choice to solar power our building is our way of doing our part for the environment. Integrating solar power into our energy mix will help us lower costs, reduce pollution and conserve natural resources. Many of our agricultural industry colleagues in California’s Central Valley are already expressing interest in deploying solar electricity as well. I hope many will follow our lead.” OK Produce’s onsite solar system covers 35,000 square feet of rooftop at the company’s facilities near historic downtown Fresno. PowerLight estimates that the solar-generated electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 1,800 tons over the next 25 years. These emissions reductions are equivalent to planting approximately 500,000 acres of trees, removing 365 cars from the roadways, or not driving 4.5 million miles. PowerLight’s PowerGuard system was selected as the best solar electric technology application for OK Produce’s expansive flat roof space. PowerGuard is a patented, lightweight photovoltaic roofing assembly that delivers clean solar electricity to the building while protecting the roof from damaging effects of weather and UV radiation. Additionally, the solar panels provide added insulation benefits to the building. The other two systems on the roofs of Vallejo City Hall and the John F. Kennedy Library collectively generate enough power for more than 330 average homes. In addition, a solar system information kiosk in the lobby of City Hall allows visitors to see real-time system performance as well learn about the benefits of solar energy, as well as other information related to the operation of the panels. These new installations in Vallejo come on the heals of a another project, a 31 kW solar installation, that was installed at Vallejo’s police station and is already generating energy savings. According to PG&E bills from November and December, the City has saved US$4,608. The November and December bills are the first full monthly bills the City has received since the solar system was installed. The city also has plans for a solar array in the northeast quadrant of the city. That system will be used to power water pumping stations located in the area. “The installation of photovoltaic systems is a key step in our drive to reduce energy costs and consumption, while achieving greater self-sufficiency and sustainability,” said Vallejo Mayor Anthony Intintoli, Jr. “We’re delighted to be doing our part to enhance the environmental quality of the region and confront challenging budget issues.” Vallejo’s solar electric systems, incorporate highly efficient solar cells from Sanyo – the highest efficiency modules on the market, according to the company. Any excess power that’s generated will be sent back to the grid, especially on sunny summer days, during times of peak demand. In addition to providing the solar electric system, PowerLight is partnering with Viron to provide an energy management system and solar load controller at both City Hall and the Library. These energy conservation measures will further lower the facilities operation and energy costs by 33 percent while providing a comfortable environment to both the staff and the general public. It is estimated that over the 25-year operating life of the system, the City of Vallejo will save US$4.4 million in combined energy reduction costs.