Kyocera Plans Major Solar Energy Carport

By installing a sizeable solar photovoltaic (PV) carport, Kyocera is practicing a bit of what they preach through their solar division, Kyocera Solar, all the while ensuring energy reliability in the case of a power outage.

San Diego, California – April 7, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Kyocera’s parent company, Kyocera, plans to install a major solar electric generating facility at its North American headquarters and Kearny Mesa plant, using 1,680 of its own Kyocera KC-167G solar PV modules and 210 custom-manufactured light-filtering PV modules arrayed to form a carport in an employee parking lot. The company said a stable supply of electricity is critical to Kyocera’s Kearny Mesa plant, where the manufacturing process depends on electric kilns. Because products “in-process” can be ruined if a kiln cools unexpectedly, a prolonged power outage could result in a substantial loss. To guard against this, the company adopted a strategy of energy independence for the factory in the late 1980s, building a 3.2 MW natural-gas driven cogeneration facility, and a 50 kW rooftop PV system that the planned carport system will replace. Without the power provided through cogeneration and PV resources, Kyocera’s Kearny Mesa facility would rank among the top five non-governmental consumers of utility-supplied electricity in San Diego County; using these resources, however, the facility will be up to 100% energy independent. The company said their system’s capacity of 251 kW — capable of generating 450,000 kWh per year — will be equivalent to the electrical needs of 68 typical California homes. “Kyocera’s 251 kW PV system is a valuable contribution to our goal of 50 MW of renewable generated power within the next decade,” said San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy. “As more businesses understand the value of energy independence, we will see the price of these installations becoming even more competitive.” According to Clean Power Research’s PV calculator, generating this amount of electricity through conventional fossil fuel resources would annually release more than 500,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, a suspected contributor to global warming; 150 pounds of nitrous oxide, which has been linked to the destruction of the Earth’s ozone layer; and 12 pounds of sulfur dioxide, the principal contributor to acid rain. “Kyocera supports the City’s direction in producing clean energy independence to sustain San Diego’s claim as ‘America’s Finest City,'” said Rodney N. Lanthorne, President of Kyocera International, and director of the global parent, Kyocera Corporation. “We will focus our rapidly growing grid-connected solar energy business in the San Diego region. The planned carport is intended to showcase Kyocera’s solar technology and its practical applications.” The carport PV system is planned to be completed in September 2004.
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