Based at an old oil refinery in Bakersfield, California, 7,700 solarpanels have been placed over 18 acres, currently feeding approximately740 kW into neighboring refineries and also the main grid.
However, the amount of generated electricity is not at the forefrontof this project–at least not at the moment.
The former refinery site was re-purposed to test the performance ofsix emerging thin-film technologies and one emerging crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology, which were provided by independent solarcompanies.
Seven companies were chosen from a pool of 180 solar companies.
The Chosen Seven:
Abound Solar, MiaSolé(one of the biggest participants), Schuco, Showa Shell subsidiary Solar Frontier, Sharp and Q-CellsSolibro are represented. By bringing inGerman and Japanese photovoltaic brands, Chevron is obviouslyinterested in taking a global approach to its solar challenges. Not to mention tapping into a market with a lot of potential.subsidiary
Innovalight, the seventh company, is unique among the picks — known for its so-called “solar-ink.” It canactually print solar modules onto conductive surfaces, also sparingsilicon, and making a diversity of new applications possible.
"By bringing together seven emerging solar technologies, ProjectBrightfield represents one of the most comprehensive solar energy tests of its kind and is an innovative approach to evaluating newtechnologies," said Des King, president of Chevron Technology Ventures.
"Testing competing technologies side by side means that we canbetter understand their potential application at other Chevronfacilities."
ProjectBrightfield is slated to last three years — at the end of which,Chevron will decide on the technologies worth integrating into itsfacilities worldwide. During the trial itself, participating companies will be able to access data about how their technology is performingunder different conditions, and how they stack up next to competitorsand national averages.
This is the second time Chevron has re-purposed one of its refinery sites to foster renewable energy development. It also allowed 11 wind turbines to be installed on a former Texacorefinery site in Wyoming.
It is also looking to do the same in the future, developing a 1-megawatt concentratingsolar array at a Chevron mining site in New Mexico by the end of thisyear.
Learn more about Solar on eBoom’s Solar Energy Learning Page.