Soaking up the sun

SunPower, a US manufacturer of solar systems, is working with Xcel Energy to build a 17MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Colorado’s Alamosa County.


SunPower, a US manufacturer of solar systems, is working with Xcel Energy to build a 17MW photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in Colorado’s Alamosa County.


When complete at the end of 2010, the power plant will be the second-largest high-efficiency solar PV power plant in North America.


The plant will use SunPower’s tracker systems, which tilt the solar devices towards the sun as it moves across the sky, increasing energy capture.


By the end of 2010, the largest high-efficiency solar PV plant in North America will be the 25MW Florida Power & Light (FPL) plant that SunPower is currently building, which is expected to be finished by the end of this year.


The FPL plant is almost twice the size of North America’s largest operating solar PV plant, the 12MW AC array at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada, also built by SunPower.


Additionally, SunPower has a contract to build a 210MW solar power plant for the Pacific Gas & Electric Company in California, which is expected to be completed in 2012.


Construction of the Alamosa project is contingent on a number of factors, including approval by the Colorado Public Utility Commission and project financing. If it goes ahead, the project is expected to create approximately 200 jobs during the construction phase.