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Cleantech's solar array will be seven times larger than the next closest rival

Portugal announced in April that it was home to one of the world's largest solar arrays. The 150 acre, 11-megawatt (MW) solar plant was built by Catavento and PowerLight Corporation and is capable of powering 8,000 homes in Serpa.

Cleantech America LLC., a San Francisco-based company, plans to build a solar farm that would far eclipse the one built in Portugal. The new 80 MW farm, known as the Kings River Conservation District Community Choice Solar Farm, will be situated on 640 acres of land and is scheduled to be completed by 2011.

"We're pretty confident that solar farms on this scale are going to have an industry-changing impact," said Cleantech CEO Bill Barnes. "We think it's the wave of the future. This scale of project, I think, creates a tipping point for renewable energy."

"We think the impact for it will be similar to the impact of the computer chip," Barnes continued. "So too will economies of scale like the Community Choice farm drive down the cost of solar."

Cleantech estimates that the energy generated by the solar array will be enough to power 20,000 homes.



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RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By FITCamaro on 7/10/2007 10:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
/sarcasm

Nuclear power is evil though.

/end sarcasm


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By ZmaxDP on 7/10/2007 11:01:28 AM , Rating: 5
Gee, since it is southern California, why don't they just set up a requirement that any homes use a certain amount of their roof area for solar energy collection and then subsidize it with rebates on solar panels and inverters. Each home gets a grid tied system and lower energy bills with less cost to the state overall. And, you aren't using up an "pristine" land that isn't already built on.

Oh wait, that is a practical idea - it would never go over in any state or federal government, much less California...


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By ZmaxDP on 7/10/2007 11:02:29 AM , Rating: 2
Should be "less cost to the state and consumer overall." Kind of an important point.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By jaybuffet on 7/10/2007 1:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure about California, but I believe some places already do this. In fact, if you provide energy to the grid, they will credit your account


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Cygni on 7/10/2007 1:23:19 PM , Rating: 4
the problem with your idea is that you are looking at 20+ years before the solar panels will pay themselves off to the homeowner. forcing an area with already over inflated housing costs (and general cost of living) to add $20,000 to their cost of ownership for some dream of saving the air, when the fact of the matter is that LA's cars create way more polution than its energy production, is a pretty bad idea. especially considering the fact that producing a solar pannel has a pretty significant carbon footprint itself.

forcing people to put the inefficient solar panels we have today on their houses is not the answer, and its not a new or novel solution that nobody has thought of. solar as of today is not world saving, nor is it 'as significant as the computer chip.' the only solution i see is nuclear, but the general public is too timid to embrace Gen3/4 nuclear plants yet.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By blaster5k on 7/10/2007 2:11:17 PM , Rating: 3
I completely agree. Nuclear is the best option we have to fight climate change, but yet so many environmentalists refuse to consider it.

The problem I see with all the renewables is the amount of land area they take to generate a significant amount of power. Sure, there are deserts and such where you could throw this stuff, but if you want to build enough to make a real difference, you're going to ruin habitats and screw with nature in other ways.

Nuclear produces more power for the amount of space than pretty much anything we can do today -- and it's even affordable. Virtually all the pollution is contained and manageable (most of the U.S. nuclear waste stockpiles are from creating high grade plutonium for weapons programs -- not power plants). With each generation of designs, they keep getting safer and safer. The generation IV designs look especially promising.

One of these days, "environmentalists" will wake up and realize that nuclear power is the only way we can realistically put a dent in emissions.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Tsuwamono on 7/10/2007 2:40:23 PM , Rating: 1
The reason they are against it is because its good now but bad down the road. Although if we dont do something now there wont be a down the road to worry about lol. I think Nuclear is the best option to buy us time to figure out Fission.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By blaster5k on 7/10/2007 2:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think you mean fusion. Lots of money has been spent over the years trying to produce a working fusion reactor without much success. It remains to be seen if it will ever be a viable concept. Some people think it might be a hundred years before we overcome a lot of the issues with it. Fission is quite sustainable anyhow -- especially with reprocessing and breeder reactors. Supposedly, the fuel supply will last longer than the sun will.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Terberculosis on 7/10/2007 4:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.iter.org/

I think 100 years is a bit of an overestimate


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Ringold on 7/10/2007 6:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
It's being built in France. Doesn't bode well.
Notice the artists rendering on the home page. It doesn't exist yet.
Even when it's completed, completion doesn't mean successful operation.
Even when it's succesfully operated, that doesn't mean commercial viability.
Commercial viability doesn't mean "Fusion power plants in every back yard!"
I wouldn't count on ITER or fusion in general to save the day any time soon..


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By Chernobyl68 on 7/10/2007 6:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
pretty sure we already have fisson fugured out! :p


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 2:59:27 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
One of these days, "environmentalists" will wake up and realize that nuclear power is the only way we can realistically put a dent in emissions.

Nuclear power doesn't fit well with the "environmentalists" because it doesn't benefit them in any way. With things like the so-called "global warming crisis" and things like that, they can whip the public into a frenzy, which gives them some degree of control over our culture, lifestyle, politics, personal choices, and checkbooks.

Nuclear power solves far more problems then it creates, and if they were truly objective in considering what is best for the environment and people, and what is also economically sustainable, they'd be behind it.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By RogueSpear on 7/10/2007 9:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
I always find it interesting how the people here who have such a crisis of conscience when it comes to the batteries in hybrid cars going in a landfill (hint - they're largely recycled) have no such qualms regarding the waste produced by a nuclear power plant.

It's also depressing at best that whenever there's news or some article about technology or a project that attempts to be environmentally responsible, the pro nuclear and pro fossil fuel crowd always has a lot to say in the negative. Devil's advocate is one thing, being a shill is quite another.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 10:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
Let's stick to the debate, and avoid the name calling, ok?

Nobody has mentioned anything about hybrid car batteries going into landfills, or anything even remotely related to spent nuclear fuel going in or anywhere near a landfill. I don't understand the correlation you draw between these ideas.

I am personally reacting to the misguided perception that solar power is an environmental panacea (which it isn't) and to the general dislike of nuclear power by environmentalists (which is illogical).


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By RogueSpear on 7/11/2007 6:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Let's stick to the debate, and avoid the name calling, ok?

Name calling? Please point out where I did that.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By PrinceGaz on 7/11/2007 10:37:26 AM , Rating: 2
I don't normally find myself agreeing with you, but I'm fully with you on the nuclear power issue.

If environmental campaigners really want to save the planet, the only viable way of generating the power we need today without burning fossil-fuels is by nuclear-fission. Wind-farms and solar-plants generate relatively small amounts of power and cannot be relied on as a major source of energy (wind-farms don't generate much power on calm days, and solar-plants produce next to nothing at night), yet are disproportionately expensive and use large areas of land.

I want to save the planet (it's the only one we've got) and the only way I can see of doing it is building more nuclear plants.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By 9nails on 7/10/2007 8:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear seems like a fair product until you have to deal with radioactive waste. Then I'm not all that wild about it.

I still like the idea of tidal current turbine generators using high and low tidal flows to turn the blades. (Sort of like wind farms, except using the ocean currents for the wind.) But that only works for coastal countries and hasn't been implemented any place that I'm aware of.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 8:59:33 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Nuclear seems like a fair product until you have to deal with radioactive waste. Then I'm not all that wild about it.

The nuclear power industry and government has done an excellent job managing used nuclear fuel so far. I haven't heard of any problems or accidents relating to nuclear waste through all the years, have you?

That industry's record is much better compared to the other two major forms of electricity generation - coal and natural gas - where the waste byproducts of burning the fuel are simply released into the environment, including the radiation emitted from coal-fired plants.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By oTAL on 7/11/2007 2:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot about oil spills...
Thousands of animals painfully dying in a single accident.


RE: 640 acres is a lot of land
By tygrus on 7/10/2007 10:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
Photovoltaic Solar Panels are not econonomical in several ways (already mentioned by others). Solar furnaces require glass&metal not silicon, and are a lot more economical. 640acres would recieve about 2900MW peak solar energy. Less than 2.8% (80M) of this will be harnessed by the specified solar array taking up equivalent of ?% of the land (each panel is <100% covered by solar cells, panels are spaced apart). Solar furnace can be >3x more efficient than standard solar panels.
Remember that land in a dessert is cheaper and already is under utilised (low use by nature and humans). What is regarded as desserts frequently have some vegitation but low importance in the scheme of things.

One problem with solar panels on the suburban roof is then being shadowed by taller buildings and trees.


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