Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chevron tests solar technology at former refinery

Chevron Corp. is using a former refinery site in Bakersfield, Calif., to evaluate seven photovoltaic technologies for potential application of renewable power at other Chevron sites.

Six thin-film technologies and one crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology are being tested in Project Brightfield. Solar companies demonstrating thin-film technologies are Abound Solar, MiaSole, Schuco, Solar Frontier, Sharp, and Solibro while Innovalight provides crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology.

Some 7,700 solar panels on an 8-acre site will help power Chevron’s Kern River oil field operations.

The performance and costs of the seven technologies will be compared with traditional crystalline silicon panels already installed on the former refinery site. Chevron Technology Ventures made no mention of whether it might consider investing in the company with the best technology.

This is the second time Chevron has taken an existing asset and converted it for renewable power. The first such project was a wind farm on a former Texaco refinery site near Casper, Wyo., where 11 wind turbines generate 16.5 Mw of power.

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