Victor Valley College Goes Solar with SolFocus Power Plant
New solar plant uses earth-friendly concentrating photovoltaic technology to supply 30 percent of campus electricity demand
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 18, 2010 – Victor Valley College and SolFocus announced today that they are installing a 1 megawatt facility of high concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems for Victor Valley College in Victorville, California. The Victor Valley College solar micro-generating facility will produce 2.69 million kilowatt hours per year, which is roughly 30 percent of the college's electricity demand. Construction on the six acre plant is currently underway on the college's main campus, and consists of 122 8.4 kW arrays. When the solar plant is completed in May, it will be the largest energy facility of its kind in North America.
"After reviewing several options for a solar provider, SolFocus demonstrated that it could deliver the best value in solar energy for the college," said Victor Valley College President Dr. Robert Silverman. "This project can be a model for other colleges and universities in meeting energy needs and supporting a green jobs economy."
At a time when education is suffering unprecedented losses in funding, Victor Valley College has chosen to move forward with this innovative solution that achieves three important goals: reduces energy costs, increases revenue streams from outside sources, and creates training opportunities for well paying jobs in the new energy economy. The advanced solar micro-generating facility is central in achieving these three goals. Funding for the project was provided in part by a capital construction bond, Measure JJ, approved by voters in November 2008 along with other capital funds. The college will also benefit from around $4 million paid over five years through performance based incentives as part of the California Solar Initiative (CSI) program.
Commenting on the technology and project, Al McQuilkin of gkkworks, the District's program manager, said, "SolFocus' advanced CPV technology met the College's rigorous criteria and offered the best combination of quality, performance, sustainable materials, and cost."
SolFocus will be supporting the college in its curriculum development around advanced solar energy technology, a critical element in supporting US President Barack Obama's green jobs initiatives.
"This project between SolFocus and Victor Valley College is the first of its kind in North America," said Mark Crowley, President and CEO of SolFocus. "SolFocus technology can scale up or down very easily to accommodate a wide variety of energy demands from smaller distributed generation projects to utility-scale projects."
According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, 75 percent of the solar installations at colleges and universities around the country have less than 100 kW of capacity . "This 1 MW installation puts the College and SolFocus in the top echelon of campus installations," added Crowley. "A small proportion of the 4,000 college and university campuses in the US have begun solar projects, so the market opportunity for this sector is promising as the CPV industry scales up to utility deployments."
SolFocus CPV technology employs a system of patented reflective optics to concentrate sunlight 650 times onto small, highly efficient solar cells. The SolFocus SF-1100S system deployed at the college uses approximately 1/1,000th of the active, expensive solar cell material compared to traditional photovoltaic panels. In addition, the cells utilized in SolFocus CPV systems have over twice the efficiency of traditional silicon photovoltaic cells. SolFocus also offers environmental benefits including next-to-no water usage, a small land footprint with dual use potential, and no permanent shadowing or wildlife corridor disruption. Additionally, SolFocus CPV provides the shortest energy payback and lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of any solar technology. In solar-rich regions like the southwest US, the SolFocus CPV technology yields significantly more energy than other technologies with an extremely light environmental footprint.
The SolFocus mission is to enable solar energy generation at a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) competitive with traditional fossil fuel sources. To achieve this goal, SolFocus has developed leading concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology which combines high-efficiency solar cells (approaching 40 percent) and advanced optics to provide solar energy solutions which are scalable, dependable and capable of delivering on the promise of clean, low-cost, renewable energy. SolFocus is headquartered in Mountain View, California with European operations headquartered in Madrid, Spain, and manufacturing in Mesa, Arizona and manufacturing partners in India and China. www.solfocus.com
About Victor Valley College
Victor Valley College's mission is to teach and serve by promoting educational excellence, enhancing local prosperity, and ensuring environmental leadership. For more than 45 years, the college has served students from the High Desert, across the country, and around the world. The same pioneering spirit that brought people to the high desert region of the country drove local residents to move the college forward from a shared idea to a burgeoning reality. Sustainability and environmental stewardship are key goals of the college's curriculum, along with its strong educational program and diverse student base. Victor Valley College is one of 109 community colleges in California that are attended by 10 percent of all students in the United States. www.vvc.edu
i"Solar Panels on Campus", the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education: http://www.aashe.org/resources/solar_campus.php.