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Biggest CPV Plant in US Begins Commercial Operation

Adding onto the biggest solar power plant, biggest North American solar power plant, and biggest non-utility-owned solar power plant stories posted earlier today, here’s another biggest solar power plant story for you. A Hatch five-megawatt concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) installation in New Mexico was repviously the largest of its kind in the US, but that position is now held by the Alamosa Solar Generating plant, located in the San Luis Valley of Colorado.

The developer, Cogentrix Energy, announced that the CPV plant had begun commercial operation on the 10th of May.

The facility will produce 30 megawatts of solar power for use by customers of Xcel Energy’s subsidiary, Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo).

At approximately 225 acres, the Alamosa Solar project consists of over 500 dual-axis, pedestal-mounted tracker assemblies, each capable of producing approximately 60 kW of electricity. Each tracker assembly is 70 feet wide by 50 feet high and contains 7,560 Fresnel lenses that concentrate sunlight by a multiple of 500 onto multijunction solar cells, developed originally as part of the US space program.

“Cogentrix has a long history of developing, constructing, and operating power plants employing a variety of technologies,” said Tom Bonner, President of Cogentrix. “We’re proud of the Alamosa Solar project and we are excited for what it means to Colorado, Xcel Energy and the US solar sector.”

“The site is interconnected at the 115kV transmission level and uses a cutting edge PV plant controller, allowing the operator to choose between a variety of smart grid operating modes,” said Solectria, manufacturer of the inverters used at the facility. “The plant can provide large amounts of reactive power, closed loop power factor control, as well as AC voltage regulation. Moreover, the controller can throttle the site’s solar energy output to help regulate the grid frequency, when needed.”

Source: Cogentrix
Image Source: Mark Udall

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