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17 April 2014

Soitec-based CPV project completed at Moapa Travel Plaza on tribal land

The Moapa Band of Paiutes Tribe and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) administrator John Padalino have celebrated the completion by contractor Stronghold Engineering of a $2.38m solar power array at the newly remodeled Moapa Travel Plaza (the Tribe’s largest employer, including a shop offering Native American art, a cafĂ©, recreational supplies, fireworks and fuel) located off Exit 75 of Nevada's I-15 North interstate highway.

The project included installation of LED lights around the travel plaza plus development of an off-grid, self-contained concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) hybrid system. Manufactured in Rancho Bernardo, CA, the CPV hybrid system includes nine towers with dual-axis CPV trackers made by Soitec of Bernin, France (each producing 28kW, making a total of 252kW), plus a battery backup system, two 250kVA generators and a 375kVA diesel generator to maintain energy flow at night and to keep a reserve for fuel pump operations.

The micro-grid project was funded through USDA’s High Energy Cost Grant program, which provides funding for energy efficiency improvements in areas with energy costs at least 275% of the national average. “USDA funding of this innovative 252kW solar facility is fundamental to economic opportunities of the Moapa Tribe and aligns with their commitment to environmental protection,” says Padalino.

The tribe expects the solar power array to reduce reliance on diesel-powered generators at the off-grid site and will result in a 34% power offset, saving over $700,000 annually in fuel costs. In the past, diesel power and generator rental cost exceeded $650,000 annually.

Stronghold Engineering, which designed, engineered and constructed the CPV hybrid system, estimates that the new system will use 162,480 fewer gallons of diesel fuel annually. Each gallon burned releases about 22.38 pounds of carbon emissions into the environment, so emissions will be reduced by an estimated 3.6 million pounds annually.

The Moapa Band of Paiutes is also hosting the nearby 250MW Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, which is under development by cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA.

See related items:

Moapa Paiute Tribe, LADWP and First Solar break ground on 250MW project

Tags: Soitec CPV

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