U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
New Solar Power Systems in California and Nevada Break Records
January 14, 2004
December was a month of record-breaking solar power announcements, as
a vitamin manufacturer installed the largest photovoltaic system in
Nevada and plans proceeded in California for the largest solar power
system yet installed at a community college. In Nevada, Las Vegas
Solar Electric began construction in December of a 214.5-kilowatt
photovoltaic system on the roof of YourVitamins, Inc., a vitamin
manufacturing company in Henderson, about 15 miles southeast of Las
Vegas. The solar power installation will be the largest in the state
when construction is finished in mid-January. In California,
construction is underway on a one-megawatt solar power system at Cerro
Coso College, a community college in Ridgecrest, about 75 miles east
of Bakerfield in the Mojave Desert. WorldWater Corporation is
supplying the photovoltaic system, which should be completed in June.
See the WorldWater Corporation press release and
the announcement from Las Vegas Solar Electric.
A number of other large solar power installations have been built or
announced in recent months. Provision Technologies, Inc. is currently
planning to install the largest photovoltaic system on the Hawaiian
island of Kauai, a 25-kilowatt system. Solera Energy installed an
88-kilowatt solar power system at a public agency in Sewell, New
Jersey, in November. The system uses solar modules from Sharp
Electronics Corporation. In late September, a 114-kilowatt solar power
system was installed at Kettle Foods headquarters in Salem, Oregon.
And on Edwards Air Force Base in southern California, SunPower
Corporation installed a 5-kilowatt system at the NASA Dryden Flight
Research Center. Though small, the system is the first to incorporate
SunPower's A-300 solar cells, which are able to convert 20 percent of
the sun's radiation into electricity. See the press releases from
Provision Technologies, Sharp Electronics (PDF 14 KB), the Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association (PDF 68 KB), and SunPower. Download Acrobat Reader.
Despite a growing number of large solar power installations, the news
is not all good for the U.S. solar power industry. AstroPower, Inc.
announced on January 7th that it was laying off 10 percent of its
workforce, a total of 45 employees. AstroPower has been facing
difficulties since July 2003, when it was delisted from Nasdaq.
The Delaware-based company laid off 10 percent of its work force in August 2003.
See the AstroPower announcement.