Tag Archives: photovoltaics

Saint-Gobain Solar Mirrors

Saint-Gobain Opens Solar Mirror Manufacturing Plant in Goodyear

Saint-Gobain is opening its first North American solar mirror manufacturing plant in Goodyear, Ariz. The manufacturing plant will benefit both the Arizona environment as well as the economy — expecting to create approximately 50 new jobs.

Saint-Gobain’s manufacturing plant will offer the same quality solar mirror thermal products in North America as it does in Europe, while reducing the carbon footprint of transporting the product over long distances.

“Saint-Gobain Solar is a welcome addition to Greater Phoenix’s growing solar supply chain and further enhances our reputation as the nation’s hotspot for solar and renewable energy,” says Barry Broome, Greater Phoenix Economic Council president and CEO. “Investments from major international corporations like Saint-Gobain exemplify how the Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program is creating quality jobs and building a sustainable economic platform for the region’s future.”

Saint Gobain Solar Mirror

According to Alain Garnier, director of Saint-Gobain Solar North America, local production of solar mirrors in Arizona accelerates the company’s plans for growth in the North American solar market.

“Goodyear offers great local access to the solar concentrator market in the southwest region of the U.S.; it is close to our customers,” Garnier says. “Goodyear also offers a good infrastructure, easy access to highways, and an educated workforce.

“In terms of benefits for Arizona, Saint-Gobain’s expansion to Goodyear means more jobs for Arizonans and helps solidify Arizona as the solar capital of the world.”

What’s unique about this solar mirror manufacturing plant is the testimony it will make about the products it creates. It is going to utilize Saint-Gobain solar mirrors in the building process to produce energy for the manufacturing process.

“We are proud to help lead the drive to save energy not only through responsible manufacturing practices, but also through the development of sustainable, energy-efficient building products and solutions for communities around the world,” Garnier says. “Leading by example, the company will be installing solar photovoltaic systems to offset the site’s energy needs.”

The plant’s projected production capacity corresponds to an annual thermal power output of 300MW, or the equivalent annual energy requirements for an American town of 150,000 inhabitants. It is estimated that each year it will save approximately 320,000 tons of carbon dioxide that would have been generated if using a coal fire method. This is the equivalent of replanting approximately 62,000 acres of forest.

“We are grateful to the state of Arizona, which has adopted a proactive policy to encourage companies from the solar sector to establish manufacturing plants,” adds Garnier. “The Arizona Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program helped to encourage us to select the state for our new plant. Following a tough selection process, we chose to set up our plant in the Phoenix area, in Goodyear, where we are pleased to have been very positively received.”

The facility will supply the domestic solar mirror market and will eventually produce millions of square feet of solar mirrors for thermal power station technologies including, but not limited to, concentration towers and linear Fresnel lenses.

The solar mirror plant is expected to launch in the last quarter of this year and will compliment Saint-Gobain’s current solar mirror production base, which includes a parabolic mirrors plant in Portugal and a flat mirrors facility in Germany.

For more information about Saint-Gobain’s solar mirror manufacturing plant, visit www.Saint-Gobain.com.

Solar Energy Arizona Western College,

Solar Energy Builds on Arizona Western College Campus

The current economic situation has spurred a lot of talk, advertisements and encouragement to buy local and use local to sustain our economy. The Guinness Book of World Records named Yuma, AZ the sunniest city on earth, so where better to utilize innovative solar energy technology on Yuma’s Arizona Western College campus?

The Project

The Arizona Western College in Yuma is in the process of installing solar panels to cover close to 100 percent of its daytime electricity needs and cut its costs, all of which are planned to happen by October 2011. However, this project is doing more than just generating solar energy; it is utilizing five new types of photovoltaic technology from six different companies.

Arizona Western College plans to use the solar panels to teach classes on solar technology, installation and environmental engineering. This three-year solar project, from vision to completion, was partially funded by APS and will be managed by Main Street Power for 30 years and after the contract expires, the equipment will become part of the college and continue producing energy, says Lori Stofft, the director of public relations and marketing at Arizona Western College.

It is unique to apply five different technologies to a single institution, but that is one of the projects innovative angles.

The five photovoltaic technologies and the companies behind them include:

(c)2011 Arizona Western College by Ernest Yates

1. CPV (concentrator photovoltaic) from SolFocus, including their dual-axis trackers and GreenVolts fully integrated system including two-axis trackers and inverter
2. Thin Film panels from Sharp Solar
3. Monocrystalline panels from Solar World
4. Poly Crystalline panels from Suntech
5. Single-axis trackers from O Solar

Another unique aspect of this project is that the building process is streamed live over the internet to allow the community and the solar technology companies to check in on the progress.

“A lot of our partners are in Northern California, Germany, Spain… we wanted those people to feel like they were connected to our campus and that they could check in seven days a week and find out what was going on,” Stofft says. “It’s a way to include our partners in the building process.

The ground breaking was in May 2011 and the “Flip the Switch” completion ceremony is slated for October 2011. Only six months were allotted to cover 23 acres of land with solar arrays. The tight deadline was set in order to meet APS’s guidelines for the funding.

The Educational Advantage

It would make more sense to use one solar technology instead of five if it was just about energy generation, but it’s not, Stofft says. It’s about allowing the companies to measure their technologies against one another in one of the harshest climates on earth. Another educational aspect of the project will be the incubation area and the demonstration garden.

“The demonstration garden will have nine different technologies that students and the public will have access to,” Stofft  says. “They can see how [the technologies] measure against each other and what measures against the five major arrays.”

The incubation area is based on rental, and for a fee, technology companies can rent a private and secure area for a small array where they can test their equipment against the solar arrays already in place. The estimated savings for Arizona Western College with the solar array in place will be $3.5 million in the first 10 years, $15.4 million in 20 years and a projected $40 million over 30 years, including incubation rental fees.

“It’s more than just saving our tax payers money; it can be a road map for other colleges around the country who want to educate their own students,” Stofft  says. “There are all sorts of certificate and training programs and we could be educating people who work in solar industry at all levels.”

Arizona Western College graduated their first solar installer class of 19 in spring 2011 and are in the process of embedding solar technology into new and existing programs, developing 2-year degrees that can be transferred to four-year institutions.

(c)2011 Arizona Western College by Ernest Yates

It seems as though everyone wins.

Arizona Western College saves money; the solar companies get to test and monitor their technology in a large scale setting; the students reap the benefits, and the community creates jobs. The only thing left is getting a White House representative, or the president himself to the “Flip the Switch” ceremony.

A Presidential Approval

“The goal is to attract national attention to the array,” Stofft  says. “I really feel this is about energy independence for our country.”

Arizona Western College sent a formal invitation to the White house, but there has been no response yet. They are keeping their fingers crossed, and if the White House plans to respond, it still has time.

“The students, faculty and community are so proud that this solar array is being installed,” Stofft  says. “And if we can get the White House to visit, that will just be the cherry on top.”

For more information about Arizona Western College’s solar panels and its progress, visit www.azwestern.edu.

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Videos

Watch: AWC Solar Array Presidential Invite

Watch: AWC Solar Array Groundbreaking May 2011

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Green News Roundup, Recycling Cigarettes, Solar and More

Green News Roundup – High-Efficiency Solar Projects & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about recycling cigarette butts, high-efficiency solar projects and more.

Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

A Call to Recycle Cigarette Butts
Every get annoyed by the countless cigarette butts that line every crevice of the sidewalks, roads, etc? Well fear not, a solution for this nuisance may be in the works! When New York State Assemblyman Michael G. DenDekker received a suggestion for a cigarette butt recycling program from a constituent he admittedly “had a little chuckle” at first. Luckily, he didn’t dismiss the idea until he did a little research on it. Turns out scientists in China had discovered that “soaking cigarette butts in water creates a solution that can protect steel pipes used by the oil industry from corroding.” And that’s not all! A designer in Brazil cleans cigarette butts and spins them with sheep wool into clothes while an inventor in Ohio has a patent pending to turn cigarette butts into sealants and adhesives. Pretty impressive for something that most of us would assume is hardly fit to be recycled. Who knows what else may be on the horizon?

Victorville Campus to Unveil High-Efficiency Solar Project
A new high-efficiency solar project has been revealed at Victor Valley College in Victorville, Calif. The school’s new 1-megawatt plant will utilize concentrator photovoltaics, or CPV. The technology is claimed to generate more energy at lower costs while using less open space. The plant will sit on a six-acre dirt plot in Victorville and will provide 30 percent of the campus’ power. This $4.5-million facility will be the largest of its kind in North America.

Oil Spill in the Mangroves is a Disgusting, Sticky Mess
Guest blogger Philippe Cousteau, chief correspondent for Planet Green shared his up close and personal accounts of the BP oil spill while reporting from Grand Isle, Louisiana. His reports show a sobering reality of the effects as they hit close to home. After visiting with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fish Department he learns that oil has made its way into the mangroves. This means that some of the most fragile wetland habitats in the world are at serious risk.