Project Focus: SolFocus installing 1MW CPV system on Victor Valley College campus

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SolFocus is installing a 1MW high-concentrator photovoltaics system at Victor Valley College in the high desert of California. Construction of the HCPV installation, which consists of 122 of the company’s SF-1100S 8.4KW arrays spread across six acres, is taking place on the college’s main campus in Victorville, CA.

When the power plant is completed in May, it will generate about 2.5 million kilowatt-hours annually (roughly 30% of the college’s electricity demand) and be the largest facility of its kind in North America, according to SolFocus.

Funding for the project was provided in part by a capital construction bond, Measure JJ, approved by voters in November 2008 along with other capital funds.  The college will also benefit from around $4 million paid over five years through performance-based incentives as part of the California Solar Initiative program.

“After reviewing several options for a solar provider, SolFocus demonstrated that it could deliver the best value in solar energy for the college,” said Victor Valley College President Robert Silverman.  “This project can be a model for other colleges and universities in meeting energy needs and supporting a green jobs economy.”
 
Commenting on the technology and project, Al McQuilkin of ggworks, the district’s program manager, said, “SolFocus’ advanced CPV technology met the college’s rigorous criteria and offered the best combination of quality, performance, sustainable materials, and cost.” 

SolFocus said it will be helping the college in its curriculum development around advanced solar energy technology, a critical element in supporting President Barack Obama’s green jobs initiatives.

“This project between SolFocus and Victor Valley College is the first of its kind in North America,” said Mark Crowley, president/CEO of SolFocus.  “SolFocus technology can scale up or down very easily to accommodate a wide variety of energy demands from smaller distributed generation projects to utility-scale projects.”

According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, 75% of the solar installations at colleges and universities around the country have <100KW of capacity.

“This 1MW installation puts the college and SolFocus in the top echelon of campus installations,” added Crowley. “A small proportion of the 4000 college and university campuses in the US have begun solar projects, so the market opportunity for this sector is promising as the CPV industry scales up to utility deployments.”

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