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Published on January 29th, 2009 | by Timothy B. Hurst


Most Efficient Solar PV Plant of 2008 Won't Hold Title for Long

January 29th, 2009 by  

solar pv farm near Alamosa, Colorado

A solar photovoltaic station tucked away high in a high Colorado mountain valley will finish 2008 as the nation’s most productive utility-scale solar PV facility, but the short-lived title won’t last long.

At 7,500 feet above sea level, Sun Edison’s 8.22-megawatt Alamosa facility was America’s most efficient solar plant in 2008. The 82-acre solar photovoltaic facility in the San Luis Valley of Colorado produced enough power for 1,652 homes, making it the largest plant of its kind in the country. And if you think 1,650 homes isn’t very many, you’ve never been to the sparsely-populated San Luis Valley.


The project, which just opened in December of 2007, will be surpassed in terms of total output by the recently-completed ten-megawatt El Dorado Energy Solar facility in southern Nevada.

Though Alamosa will slip to number two in terms of total output, it remains an excellent tool for tracking solar performance in an area that has some of the best solar resources in the country. Alamosa deploys three distinct types of solar technologies: Single axis tracking array, fixed-mount array, and dual axis tracking array with photovoltaic concentrator technology.

Having the three types of solar technologies deployed in parallel will afford engineers the opportunity to monitor the performance and relative benefits of each technology over the system’s expected 20-year lifespan.

Image: NREL 


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About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.

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