Cogenra Solar has installed a 227 kilowatt a hybrid rooftop array at the Solar Zone in the University of Arizona Tech Park. The hybrid system will provide the 70,547 square-foot Building 9070 on the UA Tech Park’s campus with its electricity demands while being evaluated for overall efficiency and potential scalability in the market place.
The first hybrid and rooftop array installed at the Solar Zone combines 191 kilowatts of solar thermal power and 36 kilowatts of photovoltaic (PV) electric generation into a single array. It uses a series of mirrors configured on a single axis trough panel to concentrate the sun’s energy and capture excess heat in water located behind the cells. The heat, generally lost with PV-only systems, is used to heat water into steam to generate electricity. At the same time it cools the PV components, making them more efficient.
“The solar industry is evolving with a significant focus on developing next generation technologies. The Cogenra project is a great example of how to make a green technology ‘greener’. By capturing the heat generated and directing it for use in energy production,” stated Associate Vice President for University of Arizona Research Parks Bruce Wright.
The electricity generated by the cogeneration system will directly fulfill Building 9070’s lighting, air-conditioning and other electrical needs. Excess energy produced by the system will be added to the power Tucson Electric Power’s 21-megawatt, multi-technology solar facility at the Solar Zone puts back into the grid. Renewable energy credits produced from the excess energy the system produces will go to financing its cost.
Currently, the Solar Zone consists of 95,000 solar panels and 100 solar concentrators designed to generate 25 megawatts of power, twice the amount of electricity needed for the entire Tech Park’s daily operations. In conjunction with Tucson Electric Power, the Solar Zone allows multiple solar technologies to be evaluated and tested under identical conditions. It is a unique facility which integrates technological development and testing with workforce training and community education outreach programs.
The rooftop project at the Solar Zone will serve as a model for communities to finance and develop similar projects in the future. By sourcing local construction company contracts and manufacturing the system’s mirror components in Arizona, Cogenra seeks to help invigorate local and regional economies with clean energy industry employment and support its peripheral sectors.Tweet