starting up our own green power production unit: 4 solar panels, March 2000
PV "van boven"
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Zonnepanelen uit de ruimte - Solar panels on Earth out of space

© all photographs Google Earth except where indicated

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PVUSA Solar Photovoltaic Facility

When visiting Denis Lenardic's extremely interesting pvresources.com website with the worlds' biggest PV-plants, at the start of November 2006, I encountered a reference to a PV-test facility in California. Off-course, I became directly interested. The more since it appeared to be an older installation, and it may have been captured on images already available through Google Earth because the most recent satellite photo's on GE are available only for just a few regions on the globe. Photovoltaics is still in its infancy, so many of the GE pictures do not yet show the installations that have been built in recent years, in particular in Europe and the U.S.A. Regrettably, world champion Germany is lagging behind on the availability of recent photographs, but we'll forgive them in the hope that their gigantic MegaWattpeak installations will become available in short time...

Well, well, well. I could not have imagined what I would encounter with respect to "PVUSA", and, to put it mildly, having pinpointed this facility after a little bit of research work, a good atlas and some geographic expertise, the find is far from disappointing. A beautiful PV-installation appeared on the computer screen and soon I was taking detailed shots to show the beauty of it all to everyone who is going nuts on sustainable energy, like the present writer does. So here are "a few pixx", and I hope you will agree with me that this is a very nice installation, that good work is being done here for testing different types of solar modules in hard practice, and that at the same time this 800 kilowattpeak PV-installation is feeding dark-green sustainable electricity into the grid of Davis, in northern California. Hopefully the expansion plans of PVUSA will rapidly be fulfilled.



Location of PVUSA, Yolo County, along County Road 102/Poleline Road
just north of Davis, Sacramento Valley, app. 100 km. NE of San Francisco.


The 800 kWp PV facility in full. To the left the smaller testing "banks" on fixed frames (facility part 3), to the
right at left (4) and right (5) two very different single axis-tracked PV-systems, the big blue central system (2)
is a huge amorphous Si array
on fixed frames, and on top right there is another fixed PV-test installation (1).
Click on areas of the photograph to see details. Or scroll further downwards.


Test system 1, most probably Siemens crystal Si array with 2 large Xantrex
inverters, total array nominal power (STC) 149 kWp.
Portion of amorphous Si system at bottom. Siemens array is fixed on frames
and has a horizontal orientation.


Close-up of system 1, revealing white frame supports sticking out of the
arrays. Not all panels appear to be aligned perfectly horizontally.


Close-up of system 2, a huge array of big frames with amorphous Si modules
of APS with 3 Xantrex inverters, fixed tilt to the south, and a nominal power of
290 kWp. Note some modules have been dismounted (or never placed).


High-resolution detail of system 2 with unoccupied module positions
and frame supports partially visible. Note shadows of midday sun.


Testing field (3) for smaller PV-systems. According to website 3Phases this separate
field would consist of 6 separate test systems. Main building below, with car parked outside.


Detail of test field (3), northeastern part. Lower purplish systems appear to be amorphous Si.
The array on top is very intriguing, when one considers the shadows. ???Concentrator PV modules???


Test field 4, with N-S orientation of single-axis sun following
arrays of, presumably, the Ribbon-Si IPC solar modules with
Kenetech inverter and a total nominal power of 157 kWp.
Main axis of tracker (connecting the 11 arrays) well visible, the
white structure at right presumably contains the tracking motor.


Detail of test fields 4 (left) and 5 (right), both with tracker stations. Left ribbon-Si, right polycrystallne Si.


Test field 5 with, presumably, 152 kWp BP Solar polycrystalline Si system with 8 Xantrex
inverters. Here the tracking motor facility appears to be in dead-center, with two additional
(white) structures of unknown function (inverter housing?).


Description of the PVUSA facility with reference to the big 4 test plants:
http://www.3phases.com/facilities/PVUSASolarFacility.pl



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© 2006 Peter J. Segaar/Polder PV subsite, Leiden (NL)
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