Chevron Breaks Ground on Nation's Largest CPV Plant

Chevron Energy Solutions, the clean spot on the face of oil-and-gas giant Chevron Corporation, announced on Thursday that it had broken ground on what the company says will be the largest concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) power plant in the United States. new mexico solar plantThe 1-megawatt plant is being built in Questa, New Mexico. It will consist of 175 solar panels covering 20 acres and creating enough solar electricity to power 700 New Mexico homes. In a way, the plant represents Chevron “cleaning” up after itself. The site for the CPV array was once mined for molybdenum by the Chevron Mining Co., and is now an otherwise unusable brownfield. Brownfields and other toxic or contaminated sites in cities nationwide are prime candidates for solar arrays. Most are close to transmission lines, have plenty of exposure to sunlight and can’t be used for much else without extensive cleanup. This is why several advocacy groups are pushing to get solar power onto these sites. One such group, The Wilderness Society, is praising the Chevron project for that very reason. As Zoe Krasney of the group’s Albuquerque office told New Mexico Business Weekly, “[The Chevron project] is a fantastic way to utilize waste land by using our polluted past to get to our clean future.” The Questa site had been a mine since the 1920s, including open pit mining from 1965 to 1983. It has since been declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency. Parts of the mine are still in use and some are already in remediation, with the rest slated for cleanup when the mine fully closes. In the meantime, Chevron will “clean” up the site in a different way or, more to the point, offset some of the pollution caused by mining operations with clean solar power. Electricity produced by the CPV plant will be sold to Kit Carson Electric Cooperative. Concentrating photovoltaics use mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto solar panels, increasing the amount and duration of solar radiation striking the solar cells within and increasing panel and power plant efficiency. Separate from the New Mexico project, Chevron is conducting a broad test of seven different solar panel technologies, primarily in the thin-film sector, to decide which product it will embrace for future solar installations. Photo Credit: MSN

Posted on May 17 in Solar News by .

Related Posts

Leave a Reply