Kingspan Environmental designed a flat-panel solar thermal system for use atop an 11-story Arlington, Va., apartment building, which serves 300 residents (pictured). The 67-panel system is expected to save the property owners as much as $8,000 in utility costs in the first year with a break even point at seven years. The property owners were also able to avail themselves of a 30 percent federal tax credit related to the installation of the solar flat panels. Amidus, a clean-energy consulting firm headquartered in Maryland assisted with the project.
Rudolph/Libbe has started construction on a 2 MW solar array from which the Toledo Zoo will purchase enough power to supply about 30 percent of its electrical needs. Rudolph/Libbe is designing and building the project on a 22-acre brownfield site in south Toledo, Ohio. GEM, one of the Rudolph/Libbe Companies, is performing licensed electrical work. The 28,000-panel solar array will be built with Calyxo solar modules, which use thin film technology. Nextronex is providing inverters, combiner boxes and distributed architecture for the solar array. Alex Products is supplying steel racks for the solar modules. The ground-mount system will contain no moving parts. The array will produce about 2.6 MWh per year. The project will be complete in early to mid-2014. In 2010, Rudolph/Libbe also designed and built the Toledo Zoo’s SolarWalk, comprised of more than 1,400 solar panels, designed to resemble a snake winding along the perimeter of the zoo parking lot to the entrance. Last year, the SolarWalk generated 99,041.29 kWh.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is building a concentrating solar power (CSP) project that will integrate utility-scale CSP technology with SMUD’s 500 MW natural gas-fired Cosumnes Power Plant. Supported by a $10 million Energy Department investment, the project will help design, build and test cost-competitive CSP-fossil fuel power generating systems in the United States. Concentrating solar power technology uses sunlight to produce steam, which is then used to generate electricity. Hybrid systems couple traditional fossil fuel-powered plants with CSP technology to improve the efficiency and performance of both systems and marry baseload power with new, cost-effective capacity. Today, between 11 and 21 GW of CSP could be built and integrated into existing fossil fuel plants in the United States, says DOE. The SMUD project will feed solar-produced steam directly into the plant’s turbines, generating at least 10 MW of electric generation capacity. The project will include energy storage technology to improve system performance and meet peak and off-peak power needs.