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admin | Category: What Cause Ed | 13.05.2014
Construction and testing of the 29,426-panel solar array near the Porterville Municipal Airport took about six months and created 125 jobs. In addition to building its own network of 40-50 solar stations, SCE is signing power purchase agreements with independent producers willing to construct a similar number of solar plants collectively.
The solar photovoltaic projects are located California’s Kern, Los Angeles and Merced counties. These contracts are a result of SCE’s competitive renewables solicitation, and are contingent on approval by the California Public Utilities Commission. Southern California Edison (SCE) awarded 36 contracts to independent power producers for a total of nearly 60 megawatts from photovoltaic solar panels that will produce emission-free energy for SCE customers. The solar rooftop project, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in June 2009, calls for a total of 500 megawatts of  solar generating capacity, most of it on otherwise unused large warehouse rooftops.
SCE believes that its solar rooftop project will be a boon for the solar industry and consumers alike, with the resulting cost per unit significantly more cost effective than more common residential photovoltaic installations in California. The solar energy industry took a step forward this week as eSolar unveiled a new solar thermal tower in California.
According to the company, its 5-megawatt Sierra SunTower plant is currently the only one of its kind in the country. The plant will use thousands of mirrors to focus sunlight onto a tower containing fluid that is heated to power turbines. A number of other utility-scale solar energy plants are expected to go online early in the next decade, especially in various parts of the Southwest. The largest series of solar installations in history, more than 1,300 megawatts, is planned for the desert outside Los Angeles, according to a new deal between the utility Southern California Edison and solar power plant maker, BrightSource.
The momentous deal will deliver more electricity than even the largest nuclear plant, spread out among seven facilities, the first of which will start up in 2013. BrightSource is the reincarnation of Luz International, which built the only currently operating solar thermal facility during the 1980s in the Mojave Desert. While Brightsource is a leader in the field, a variety of other companies compete in the solar thermal space.
The first of the seven installations will be in Ivanpah, California and will be rated at 100 megawatts of peak power.
Southern California Edison’s Hemphill said that the new plants would provide a valuable hedge against volatile natural gas prices, noting that his company had seen natural gas prices as low as $4 per thousand million cubic feet (a standard industry measure) and as high as $16. The 1980s-era solar thermal plants use the oldest solar thermal technology around, known as a parabolic trough.

Solar thermal is seen as a promising source of energy for city-scale power because it works on very well established principles. Steam-driven turbines, on the other hand, make almost 90 percent of the world’s electricity and their ancestry stretches back to the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Sunstock Solar Festival Mixing Solar Power with Music and Art 12:56 pm By GP Sunstock Solar Festival is the first completely solar-powered event of its kind and is lighting the way for music and the environment this summer.
24, 2011 – Southern California Edison (SCE) today connected the state’s largest investor-owned utility photovoltaic plant to its Central Valley power grid. The new Central Valley solar station is connected directly to the utility’s neighborhood power circuits and benefits all SCE customers in the region.
Hopefully, in years to come, a solar project like this will be commonplace,” said Mayor Ronald Irish. Three contracts with SunPower will total 711 megawatts and include one of the largest single solar photovoltaic installations – 325 megawatts – in the United States.
SCE estimates that when the projects all come online, the 831-megawatt capacity will be enough to power more than 540,000 average California homes. In 2009, SCE delivered 13.6 billion kilowatt hours of renewable power to its customers, about 17 percent of its total power portfolio. The panels will be installed on 31 unused rooftops and five ground-mount sites in SCE’s service territory. Half of the 500 megawatts will be from independent power producers who respond to SCE’s request for offers under competitive solicitations; the remaining 250 megawatts will be owned and operated by SCE. Eventually, this could help drive down installation costs of photovoltaic generation for everyone. The facility will be able to power at least 4,000 California homes through Southern California Electric.
Soon eSolar technology will be deployed worldwide to provide clean, affordable energy to hundreds of thousands of homes,” said eSolar CEO Bill Gross.
According to eSolar, the project was completed in under a year and created 300 construction jobs while it was in development. When fully operational, the companies say the facility will provide enough electricity to power 845,000 homes — more than exist in San Francisco — though estimates like that are notoriously squirrely.
The new installations, when completed, will produce 3.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Given the variability of natural gas pricing, Hemphill said that his company did not expect the solar thermal electricity to exceed the market cost of electricity in California.

Mirrors shaped like a paper-towel roll cut in half concentrate the sun’s rays on a liquid.
Mirrors that track the sun — heliostats — sit in a massive field around a tower with a boiler. Photovoltaics have come down in price — and thin-film plastic solar cells could get even cheaper — but the conversion of sunlight to electricity remains a novel source of energy. Solar thermal engineers, then, can use the knowledge gained from more than a century of tinkering at coal, natural gas, and nuclear fission plants. The new generating station, the utility’s first ground-mount PV installation, covers 32 acres of land SCE has leased from the city of Porterville, Calif.
Contracts with FRV allow for the delivery of 120 megawatts of solar energy from four projects. When complete, the solar panels will cover an area totaling 4 square miles on about 250 otherwise unused warehouse roofs.
The group’s engineers and founders moved the business to Israel, where they continued to work on their technology.
All those mirrors concentrate the sun’s heat on the boiler, which makes steam and drives a turbine.
The first working cells were only built half a century ago, and they were truly something new in the world.
It adds 5 million watts of peak capacity – enough power to serve 3,250 average homes – to SCE’s network of 11 solar stations.
The total power production will rival a utility-scale power plant, enough electricity to serve 325,000 average homes at a point in time.
Yet another player, Abengoa, recently signed a $4 billion deal with Arizona Public Utilities, and Stirling Energy Systems, a company that has adapted the Stirling Engine, a 200-year-old invention, for concentrated solar power, even pulled in a $100 million investment. The Luz fields made electricity, but Frank Shuman built a plant based on this principle to pump water in Egypt in the first decade of the 20th century. The contracts will include one of the country’s largest single solar photovoltaic installations. SCE has already installed panels on three rooftop warehouses in California’s Inland Empire that are delivering – or are in line to deliver – electricity to the grid.

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