Aerojet, a GenCorp company, and Solar Power have entered into an agreement to add an additional 2.4 megawatts to the single-axis tracker photovoltaic solar system currently installed at Aerojet’s Sacramento, California site. Construction of the 3.6 megawatt solar system at Aerojet’s facility was initiated in June of 2009. By expanding the system to six megawatts, the installation will be the largest single- site industrial location in California and one of the largest in the country. The site is located within the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).
The announcement of an additional 2.4 megawatts was made during a dedication event and press conference hosted by Aerojet, SPI, and SMUD. The event was held at the same location where California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order on Sept. 15, 2009 calling for 33 percent of energy consumed in California to come from renewable resources by the year 2020. Heralding the expansion of the solar array, Governor Schwarzenegger said, “The addition of this large-scale solar project is further evidence that reliable, renewable and pollution-free technology is here to stay. And this project is great news for California because it will help us meet our ambitious renewable energy and environmental goals, lead to more homes and businesses powered by sunshine and create new jobs in the clean-tech industry.”
“We like to say ‘At Aerojet, it really is rocket science,” said Scott Neish, president of Aerojet. “For sixty years, energy management has been at the root of our aerospace operations, and our venture into broader energy management programs demonstrates the real commitment Aerojet is making towards operating in a more sustainable fashion and reducing our company’s carbon footprint. This solar partnership is a concrete example of this commitment.”
The solar array at Aerojet is a ground-mounted system utilizing a single-axis tracking system that follows the sun’s course throughout the day to maximize electricity production. The additional array will utilize 11,712 SPI 205 watt modules mounted atop eight tracking arrays. When completed, the entire six megawatt system will cover more than 40 acres of the Aerojet site and utilize 22 tracking arrays and 29,344 SPI 205 watt photovoltaic modules. Based on its performance characteristics, the SPI 205 watt module is currently the number one ranked PV solar module in its class with the California Energy Commission.
“Prior to this addition, the Aerojet project was already one of the largest system installations in the U.S. this year, and the foundational portion of our growing portfolio and pipeline of multi-megawatt projects. With a 40 percent increase in the size of the system, the Aerojet site is now host to the largest single-site industrial installation in California,” said SPI’s CEO & Chairman, Steve Kircher. “Aerojet is a wonderful company to work with and we are very happy about the addition to the system. It speaks volumes about our ability to install a superior solution on-time, on-target and on-budget,” Mr. Kircher concluded.
Installation of the 2.4 megawatt system addition is expected to be completed in April 2010. SMUD is scheduled to interconnect the system to the power grid at that time. “SMUD is very proud to be a partner in this project,” said John DiStasio, SMUD General Manager and CEO. “We have a long solar heritage dating back to the early 1980s when we built the solar PV plant which is now the oldest megawatt-scale photovoltaic power plant continuously operating in North America. The Aerojet solar project is a huge benefit in terms of improving the environment of our community and the region as well as being a valuable part of increasing the stability and reliability of the SMUD electrical grid.”
During its first year of use, the Aerojet system will offset 6,003 tons of carbon dioxide, 23.8 tons of sulfur dioxide and approximately 9.3 tons of nitrogen oxide that would have otherwise been produced using fossil fuel power production. The first-year net clean energy benefits equate to offsetting 11,825,814 automobile miles driven or the clean air benefits realized from planting 1,396,423 trees. With a system life expectancy of 25 years, the cumulative life-cycle environmental offsets for a system of this scope are significant.
Founded in 2005, Solar Power is a vertically integrated solar energy solution provider offering the North American commercial and public sector building markets a complete solution through a single brand. Throughout Europe, Asia and Australia the Company sells its products direct to distributors and turnkey solutions providers. The Company’s Yes! Solar, Inc. subsidiary provides the U.S. small- to mid-sized business and residential market segments with turnkey PV solar systems through a growing dealer network. Solar Power, Inc. operates from its Roseville, California headquarters.
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company’s excess real estate assets.
As the nation’s sixth largest publicly owned utility, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for more than 60 years to Sacramento County (and a small portion of Placer County). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment.
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