Denver-based Conergy Americas and officials at California's South San Joaquin Irrigation District (SSJID) have installed what they believe is the world's first single-axis solar tracking system featuring thin-film photovoltaic cells.
The 419 kW system, known as the Robert O. Schulz Solar Farm, went live in late March. It is the second phase of a 1.6 MW solar energy solution that will save the irrigation district nearly $400,000 a year in utility costs, allow it to reap millions of dollars in state cash incentives and stabilize customer costs in the midst of a state-wide water crisis.
The project will also provide a unique cost-benefit analysis on how two distinct solar energy solutions, crystalline panels and thin-film, perform under a range of climatic conditions, according to Conergy and SSJID.
Phase 1 of the project features 6,720 Conergy 175 W crystalline modules mounted on a single-axis solar tracking system. First Solar thin-film modules were selected for the Phase 2 tracking solution because they perform at a lower cost-per-watt than traditional crystalline, the companies note.
SOURCES: Conergy, South San Joaquin Irrigation District