Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Re: A Solar Powered Industrial Farm in CA

I saw this in todays San Jose Mercury News, and a blogger wrote about it here. Namely, a farmer in California's Central Valley has put a 1+ megawatt solar array on a 150,000 square foot "shed". That's a mighty big shed, if you ask me.

Anyway, the Central Valley gets a lot of sun. That makes it a good place to use solar power.

To answer a couple confusions in the discussion in the blog posting ... when you talk about the size of a solar array, it's given in peak power output. In practice that solar array will produce less energy, but in peak/optimum times it would produce 1 megawatt or more. Further, that's at an instant, as there's a difference between a megawatt, and a megawatt-hour. A megawatt-hour is a megawatt sustained over a 1 hour period, while a megawatt is simply the power running at a specific instant.

Obviously there are a lot of rooftops that are otherwise unused, and could be filled with solar panels. I ask you to visit, switch to the satellite view, and browse around any urban/industrial area. You'll see the majority of the picture area is taken up with rooftops and parking lots. Both of them could serve a dual purpose with solar panels.