Power Loss Strikes Half of National Grid’s R.I. Consumers; Solar Power Plant to Rise in Calif.

August 28, 2011 / William Thomson, Green Homes Expert

California-based, private solar energy project developer SunPeak Solar, LLC, has selected Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), touted as the world’s largest producer of solar panels, to mount the 23MW (AC) solar power plant in Niland, California, which will generate 28.7MW (DC) of solar panels to residents in the area.

Power Loss Strikes Half of National Grid’s R.I. Consumers; Solar Power Plant to Rise in Calif.

California will see the rise of 100,000 units of Suntech’s 285/290W Vd-Series modules with advanced SuperPoly silicon processing technology, while Rhode Island continues to brave Hurricane Irene as National Grid declared that power is out to more than 270,000 of its 480,000 customers in the area.

National Grid spokesman David Graves said it might take few more days to fully restore the power in the area, probably by the next weekend. More than 80 private contractors are assisting the National Grid to repair the wiring seen down everywhere in Rhode Island, from Narragansett to Cumberland.

On the other hand, SunPeak Solar’s subsidiary Imperial Valley Solar Company (IVSC) 1, LLC will oversee the project’s construction including the installation of the solar panels.

Mick McDaniel, Vice President of the Utility Sales Division for Suntech America, said: “This well-designed project demonstrates how solar power can efficiently complement existing grid assets, while maximizing value for grid operators and off-takers. Solar electricity serves as an effective hedge against volatile fuel prices and can significantly reduce the aggregate costs of electricity generation.”

SuperPoly uses modified multicrystalline silicon casting equipment that improves module performance by up to 10 percent, producing high-quality silicon ingots and wafers.

The 72-cell Vd-Series module warrants 6.7 percent more power than the standard industry warranty as it comes with Suntech’s 25-year power output warranty – including 0/+5 percent positive power tolerance. It meets the UL1703, IEC 61215, and IEC 61730 standards.

The solar power plant is built on a 123-acre lot located near the Imperial Irrigation District’s (IID) Niland electric substation and natural gas turbine facilities. It is expected to generate enough energy to power approximately 14,000 homes within the utility’s service area in Imperial County and parts of Riverside and San Diego counties.

The project complements IID’s plan to meet California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement for electricity service providers to meet 33 percent of retail electricity sales with renewable sources by the end of 2020.

In 2010, IID reached its highest peak demand of 1,004 MW, which will aim higher this year with the solar power plant, which will provide for approximately 2.29 percent of the utility’s peak demand, and supply decades of clean electricity primarily during the busiest demand hours.

The North American Development Bank (NADB) supports the project through a US$77.4 million credit facility.

NADB Managing Director Geronimo Gutierrez, said: “We have been working to build partnerships in the renewable energy sector, with both public entities and private companies and with the signing of this loan, we are opening a new chapter in the evolution of the Bank that will help us move forward in the development of renewable energy projects.”

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