Xcel Energy announces the largest photovoltaic central solar power plant in the United States
Xcel Energy announced today its selection of an affiliate of SunEdison, LLC, North America's leading solar energy service provider, to build, own and operate an 8 megawatt central solar power plant in south central Colorado. The power plant will house two technologies; concentrating photovoltaic and advanced flat-plate solar panel units. The flat-plate solar panel segment of the plant and the concentrating solar segment will both be the largest of its type in the United States.
Approximately 1.2 megawatts will come from concentrating photovoltaic units. The remaining approximately 6.8 megawatts of generation will be advanced flat-plate solar panel units. The plant is expected to be on line by the end of 2007. Public Service Company of Colorado will purchase the power and the Renewable Energy Credits associated with the plant.
"Being able to meet the power needs of our customers and meet the voter-approved, Amendment 37 standards this quickly demonstrates our commitment to the environment," said Pat Vincent, president and CEO, Public Service Company of Colorado, an Xcel Energy Company. "We will move forward with the project as soon as we receive regulatory approval to purchasing the output from this solar power plant."
"SunEdison is honored to be selected as the winning vendor for this ground breaking project," said Jigar Shah, CEO, SunEdison, LLC. "SunEdison simplifies solar power for utility-scale deployments for energy leaders like Xcel Energy. All parties will enjoy the benefits of clean, reliable and competitively priced solar power delivered seamlessly via the power grid to Colorado consumers. We look forward to the ribbon-cutting ceremony next year."
Producing power through concentrating photovoltaic units is accomplished by concentrating sunlight into a beam of light 500-times greater than normal light. That beam is then focused on a photovoltaic cell that converts the highly concentrated light into electricity at an efficiency greater than non-concentrated cells. The solar electricity is converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) then sent to a power substation and fed into the power grid.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory rates the San Luis Valley as having the best solar conditions in Colorado. This central solar power plant will take advantage of those conditions.
Generating electricity from solar power will allow Xcel Energy to provide energy in an environmentally friendly way. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, by using just 2 kilowatts of photovoltaic capacity, a person can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions equal to driving 6,200 miles in a car. This plant will reduce CO2 emissions the equivalent of driving nearly 26.6 million miles of the equivalent of 14,000 tons.
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