The new king in solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities is located on 2,400 acres of land between Phoenix and Yuma, Ariz. Called Agua Caliente, it is now operational as the world’s largest PV solar facility at 290 megawatts (MW).
In the ongoing narrative of renewable power, success is often measured in superlatives.
The stories that get top billing often describe massive wind-farm developments, science-fiction-like discoveries and major breakthroughs. A recent project in Los Angeles is no exception.
In the discussion of solar power’s potential, proponents often cite the claim that enough solar energy hits the Earth’s surface in one hour to power the world for one year. Critics, however, argue solar-power technologies have yet to achieve the ability to harvest even a fraction of that energy.
J Ranck Electric Incorporated, an electrical contractor based in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, recently completed a project that installed a 913-solar-panel power system at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, the most-attended aquarium in the country.
In the future, windows may not only serve the primary functions of allowing light indoors and conserving heat or cooling, but they may also capture enough solar power to meet all of a building’s energy needs. In other words, windows of the future may pull double duty as solar collectors.
Success in the renewable-energy revolution seems to be measured at least in part by bragging rights and record-breaking, as states leapfrog over each other for the title of largest wind farm, highest portfolio standard or some other bar-raising, eye-catching announcement.
Global pharmaceutical Merck is using the power of the sun, with some help from federal stimulus money, to raise the green level of its facilities; the most recent of which is at its Upper Gwynedd, Pa., complex.
Broadway Electrical Co. Inc. recently completed the engineering, procurement and construction of the largest rooftop solar array in Boston. The project is located in the Boston/Dedham Commerce Park. Broadway Electrical will also provide the operations and maintenance for the installation.
Perhaps nothing showcases technology’s ability to innovate and change lives better than the science behind renewable power. Solar power’s high cost is well-established, but scientists at CalTech are developing cells with such hyper– efficiency they could potentially eclipse the question of price.