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June 14th, 2010

Daytime sun, nighttime breeze brings first dual-sourced renewable power plant

Published on June 14th, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org
Wind turbines near Palm Springs, Calif., not far from a site where a 13-megawatt solar power plant is proposed. (Credit: Sunpluggers.com)

Wind turbines near Palm Springs, Calif., not far from a site where a 13-megawatt solar power plant is proposed. (Credit: Sunpluggers.com)

According to California solar power advocacy group Sunpluggers.com, wind turbines may be installed among the photovoltaic panels of a planned PV power plant in Palm Springs, Calif. This would be the first dual-purpose renewable energy plant in the U.S.

“What’s interesting about this renewable power project in particular is the non-coincidental nature of the two sources of power,” said Nathan Potter, a representative of the developer, AES Solar Energy of Arlington, Va., at a June 9 meeting of the Palm Springs Planning Commission. “The wind is generally strongest during the evening, and obviously the sun during the day.”

The project site is adjacent to high-voltage transmission lines and an electrical substation.

“What we’re doing is to plan on putting solar panels on otherwise useless land,” Potter told the commission, noting that the presence of the existing electricity system means the project “will forgo the need of further build-out of energy infrastructure.”

In addition to serving as a “test case” for combining the two renewable-energy sources, the project is an example of “how to do more with less,” he added.

Potter and other AES Solar representatives said the array had to be designed so that panels would not shade one another and could be economically congregated.

The project still awaits approval by state officials.

 


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