This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 13, 2002

Solar Power Systems Installed in Arizona, California

Several large solar electric systems have gone online in recent weeks in Arizona and California. In Arizona, Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) expanded its solar power installation near Springerville to 1.4 megawatts. The utility commissioned the expanded system last week and plans to further expand the solar power system to 2.4 megawatts in 2002. See the TEP press release.

TEP started installing the Springerville system last year. As of October 2001, the system had a capacity of 619 kilowatts. See the October 3, 2001, edition of EREN Network News.

In California, two new solar electric systems are more notable for their location and use than for their size. In Berkeley, a Whole Foods Market installed a 33-kilowatt solar electric system on its roof. The system was commissioned last week. The organic supermarket also installed a new advanced direct-current fluorescent lighting system, allowing the photovoltaic panels to power the lighting system with minimal energy losses. Most power systems lose some energy by converting the direct-current power to alternating current. See the Whole Foods Market press release.

Across the bay, the San Francisco International Airport has installed a 20-kilowatt solar power system as part of the roof of one of its support buildings. The system's thin-film solar cells were laminated to metal roofing materials, so they actually form part of the building's roof. Such building- integrated photovoltaic systems improve the economics of solar power installations by allowing them to serve a dual purpose, as both part of the building and part of the building's power supply. See the Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. press release.

Meanwhile, an announcement last week from AstroPower, Inc. seems to confirm northern California as a viable place to install solar power systems. Two solar power systems installed by the company in Hopland and Berkeley exceeded expectations for power production in 2001. The two systems produced a total of 320,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity - about 10 percent more than expected. See the AstroPower press release.