Skyline Solar awarded US$1.85 million contract from US Department of Defense

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Skyline Solar, a manufacturer of solar CPV arrays for the commercial, industrial, government and utility markets, has won a US$1.85 million contract from the US Department of Defense (DoD) and has since broken ground on the construction of Skyline Solar X14 CPV power plants at two domestic military sites. Last summer, Skyline was awarded three new patents in relation to its CPV technology through the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Green Technology Pilot Program.

Originally, in 2010, Skyline was to be awarded US$1.58 million to build the two systems, each featuring 100kW of installed power with a combined output of 436MWh/yr. Construction of the plants were said to be installed at Edwards Air Force Base in California and Fort Bliss in Texas, expected in the second half of 2011. The three-year contract was signed on December 22, 2011.

“The Skyline Solar project has the potential to make a significant impact on the use of solar energy by the Department of Defense,” said Dr. James Galvin, acting program manager for energy and water, US Department of Defense.

Skyline Solar was awarded the contract in a competitive process under the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), a program intended to identify technologies that solve key US DoD needs and have the highest potential for widespread deployment. The projects will allow Skyline Solar to demonstrate the Skyline X14 System’s performance in hot sunny climates, while also validating its field upgradability and rapid system deployment capability.

Electricity supplier Cogenra Solar, who offer distributed solar cogeneration solutions that combine photovoltaic power and hot water generation, was also selected last year for the ESTCP to build its installations at a US navy and army facility that have varying building types, climates and hot water usage.

Skyline Solar’s selection for the ESTCP comes at a time when the market opportunity for solar adoption within the US DoD is significantly expanding. In a report produced at the end of last year by Pike Research, it said annual expenditure in renewables by the US military would reach US$10 billion by 2030.

“The ESTCP is helping the Department of Defense achieve its goal of bolstering national security and accelerating US energy independence through the development of proven solar energy technologies, like the Skyline X14 System,” said Thomas Rohrs, CEO of Skyline Solar. “The projects will demonstrate the unique effectiveness of Skyline’s X14 System in helping to meet the energy needs of our military and government institutions.”

Skyline Solar has appointed California-based REC Solar as its engineering, procurement and construction partner for the project.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to partner with Skyline Solar on the deployment of its innovative Skyline X14 CPV System on multiple Department of Defense sites,” said Lee Johnson, CEO of REC Solar. “We believe our established track record in government solar projects, combined with the turnkey nature of the Skyline X14 System will result in two successful CPV power plants that will benefit the DoD for years to come.”

The Skyline X14 System, named for its ability to concentrate sunlight 14 times using durable glass reflectors, delivers an LCOE of less than US$0.10/kWh in sunny climates. According to the company, it is the only CPV system to incorporate field-upgradability, allowing system owners to future-proof their investment against increased cell efficiency.  Upgradability increases project IRR by as much as 30%.

On October 7, 2011, Skyline Solar installed the system in Durango, Mexico.

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