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April 8, 2009 > Sustainable solution

Sustainable solution

Submitted By Nancy Hartsoch
Photos By Courtesy of Olga Uchitel

While parking lots and rooftops are great, that alone does not come close to allowing achievement of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).

Concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology is designed for power field applications, not rooftops. It is all ground mounted.

Renewable Portfolio Standards are the numbers set for an entity's - company's, county's, state's, country's, etc. - part of energy to come from renewable sources.

As an example, California has an RPS goal to have at least 20% energy from renewable sources by end of 2010 and 33% by end of 2020. A key issue is that if we depend on only rooftops and parking lots, then there will be no way to achieve the state's RPS standard.

The key, then, is to have ground mounted solar farms whereby gigawatt hours of energy can be produced - utility scale amounts of renewable energy.

This is where the world will begin to really benefit from solar on a large-scale. In doing this, however, it is important that it be done with preservation of the environment in mind.

There are a number of factors here including getting the highest energy levels out of the smallest areas of land, limiting permanent shading to protect the eco system, maximizing use of already disturbed lands, etc. which all allow power fields to be deployed in an environmentally friendly way. The combination of solar energy and intense environmental stewardship is the sustainable solution.

NOTE: In the April 1 issue of TCVM Hartsoch was misquoted as having said SolFocus should focus on parking lots and rooftops for solar array placement.

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