Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chevron Starts Operations of 1 MW CPV Solar Field in Northern New Mexico

QUESTA, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Chevron Mining Inc. (CMI), a subsidiary of Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) and sister company Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV), a division of Chevron U.S.A., announced the start of one of the country’s largest concentrating photovoltaic solar facilities. The installation, located on the tailing site of CMI’s molybdenum mine in Questa, New Mexico, will demonstrate and evaluate an emerging solar technology and a practical use of previously impacted land.

“Chevron is one of the first companies in the U.S. to demonstrate CPV on this scale. We’re fortunate that we have property in a part of the world with a solar resource that is expected to be most conducive to this type of technology,” said Des King, CTV president.

Chevron installed concentrating photovoltaic technology that uses lenses to collect and focus direct sunlight onto layers of high efficiency cells. This technology is expected to work best in areas like northern New Mexico that have higher direct solar radiation.

The Questa solar field covers approximately 20 acres and includes 173 solar trackers, each about 18 feet by 21 feet in size. The project was constructed with an excellent safety record with no recordable safety related incidents or injuries.

“We made a concerted effort to use local resources and talent whenever possible, and I am convinced that this kind of community engagement was a crucial factor in getting the facility built safely and on time,” said Mark Premo, CMI president.

The field includes Soitec’s concentrator photovoltaic system and has the capacity to generate about one megawatt of electricity, enough to power about 300 New Mexico homes. Electricity produced will be sold to Kit Carson Electric Cooperative through a power purchase agreement.

“We’re pleased Questa is a potential starting place for an emerging solar technology”, said Mayor Esther Garcia, “This project goes a long way in demonstrating the unique solar resource we have in this part of New Mexico.”