California, United States — Aerojet, Solar Power Inc. and SMUD have completed the 2.4-megawatt (MW) expansion of the existing 3.6-MW solar system at Aerojet’s Sacramento, California facility. The site is located within the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and has now increased its capacity to 6 MW, making it the largest single-site industrial photovoltaic solar electric generating facility in California and one of the largest in the country.
The solar array at Aerojet is a ground-mounted system utilizing a single-axis tracking system that follows the sun’s course throughout the day. The 6-MW system utilizes 22 tracking arrays and more than 29,000 of Solar Power Inc’s SPI 205 watt photovoltaic modules. Based on its performance characteristics, the SPI 205 watt module is currently ranked the number-one PV solar module in its class with the California Energy Commission.
All of the power generated by the system will be utilized by Aerojet operations. The electricity produced could power 30 percent of Aerojet’s extensive groundwater treatment projects in the Sacramento region.
“This initiative is a major step in Aerojet’s efforts to help the environment, reduce its carbon footprint, and return approximately 40 acres of a Superfund site to beneficial use — in essence, to turn it into an environmental asset,” said Aerojet’s Vice President of Sustainability, Ron Samborsky.
The Aerojet 6 MW-DC solar array will help SMUD conform to California state law (SB-1) mandating the implementation of solar PV systems that meet a state-wide goal of 125 MW by 2016 intended to lower the costs of solar PV. In addition, state law requires utilities to meet 20 percent of their electricity demand with renewable energy by 2010.
SMUD is the first large utility in the state that is on track to meet the 20 percent renewable mark. During construction of the 40-acre array, approximately 200 skilled workers were employed to build the system and another 100 indirect jobs were created to support construction activities.