How DG and microgrids change the game for utilities.
Michael T. Burr
Energy microgrids have emerged as more than just a curiosity. The technology is improving, costs are falling, and developers are lining up to build projects. How will microgrids overcome the substantial challenges that stand in their way?
SunEdison signed an agreement with Petrobras to build one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants in Brazil. The plant will be located in Alto do Rodrigues, Rio Grande do Norte. Once completed, SunEdison will manage the plant from its central operations center. The energy generated will be fed into Brazil’s National Interconnected System. The plant will have an installed capacity of 1.1 MW DC and will be built on land adjacent to the Thermoeletric Plant Jesus Soares Pereira that belongs to Termoacu S.A.
Engineers and constructors adapt to serve an industry in transition.
Michael T. Burr
From gas pipelines to PV arrays, the nation’s contractors are seeing growth in utility infrastructure. Fortnightly talks with executives at engineering and construction firms to learn what kinds of projects are moving forward, where they’re located, and what lies over the horizon.
SOLON completed construction of 1.15 MW of solar systems for the Tanque Verde Unified School District (TVUSD) in Arizona. Spread over four campuses – Tanque Verde Elementary School, Aqua Caliente Elementary School, Emily Gray Junior High School, and Tanque Verde High School – the solar systems are a combination of shade structures and rooftop systems. With over 4,000 solar modules, the systems will offset a daytime electricity requirements of each campus.
Dominion acquired a solar energy development project from Smart Energy Capital and Jacoby Development. The Azalea facility, planned near Augusta in east-central Georgia, is expected to produce approximately 7.7 MW (AC) using photovoltaic technology. Dominion plans to select a contractor and oversee the construction of the project, which is expected to sell power to Cobb Electric Membership Corp. under a 25-year agreement, starting in December 2013. Financial details weren’t disclosed.
Cupertino Electric is installing a new 230-kV transmission line to interconnect a new substation serving a 200-MW photovoltaic power plant in Imperial Valley, Calif. When complete in late 2013, the overhead line will span five miles and interconnect a new 230-kV substation on the 2,000-acre solar project site in California’s Imperial Valley.
SunWize Technologies is working with members of a North American consortium that includes Solexica Energy, JCM Capital, and Radical Energy, to develop two major PV projects in the Republic of Ecuador. The projects, known as Condor Solar and Solarconnection, comprise solar arrays totaling 30 MW (AC) and 20 MW (AC) of capacity respectively. The facilities will feature approximately 234,000 solar panels, multiple inverters, and a substation to distribute energy in northern Ecuador.
SOLON completed construction of a 459 kW photovoltaic (PV) system at the Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Facility for the Town of Gila Bend, Arizona. The system is expected to offset the plant’s energy usage by 86 percent. The project was financed through a State of Arizona Water Infrastructure Finance Authority grant, awarded to the Town of Gila Bend for drinking water infrastructure improvements. SOLON says it has installed nearly 65 MW of solar in Arizona, and 90 MW nationwide.
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