San Francisco gets new solar generator

One of America's largest providers of renewable energy products has announced plans to construct a 132kW solar generator north of San Francisco.

Green Mountain sells blends of renewable energy to residents and businesses in California and Pennsylvania. “We have more than 100,000 customers who purchase cleaner electricity from us,” Karen Woodbury of Green Mountain told edie.

Commenting on the plans for the new solar generator, Woodbury emphasised the speed of construction thanks to the simplicity of the design: “We anticipate completion in the month of October.”

During an average ‘sun’ year, the 132kW facility is expected to generate about 160,000kWh. During the facility’s projected minimum 25-year life span, it is expected to displace 1,600 tons of CO² emissions (based on the current electricity mix in California) or the equivalent to the CO² emissions produced by a car driven 4 million miles.

The solar generator will be built, owned and operated by GPU Solar, a joint venture between AstroPower and GPU International, and it will be located on the grounds of the Solar Living Center in Hopwood, California. The Center is 90 miles north of San Francisco and showcases the applicability of solar energy. It welcomes 150,000 visitors a year.

The new solar generator will take up one third of an acre and will be constructed using 1,200 individual 110W photovoltaic panels from AstroPower of Delaware. Financing includes assistance from the US Department of Energy’s Team-Up programme and the renewable energy programme run by California Energy Commission.

According to Worldwatch Institute, US sales of solar cells grew by 43% in 1997.

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