Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ga. Power tests solar power on HQ roof, hell sees snow flurries

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 4:55 PM

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It's hard to read through the clean-energy jargon, but an article in PV Tech — "your daily dose of photovoltaic technology developments and solar news" — has some big news.

Georgia Power, the Atlanta-based utility that has insisted time and again that solar power won't work in the Peach State, is conducting a yearlong project — on its downtown headquarters' roof — to test which solar power technology offers the biggest bang for its buck.

[Georgia Power] plans to have seven "representative" module technologies installed on its headquarters' roof, all with the same position and orientation to the sun, run them for a year, sort through and analyze the data, and see which ones perform best (and provide some clean juice to the building in the bargain).

Four of those techonologies are already in place on Georgia Power's roof, PV Tech's Tom Cheyney reports. Norcross-based Suniva installs its technology next week.

What caught my eye were the quotes from the utility's clean-energy experts that says "yeah, for years, we didn't know how effective solar power works in metro Atlanta" — even though the utility's suits have repeatedly told lawmakers and electricity rate-setters that the zero-carbon technology just somehow wouldn't work in metro Atlanta.

"Most of the data for PV is generated in the West, and not in the Southeast," explained Elizabeth "Liz" Philpot of the Southern Company, principal research engineer for the project, during a phone interview. "We need to know how the performance of these modules is for the Southeast," adding later that "we've got alot more diffuse light here than you do out west."

Ervan Hancock, Georgia Power's manager of renewable and green strategies, said during the same interview that "from a technologies standpoint, there wasn't real good, reliable data that we could have confidence in, from performance based on the heat and humidity within our peak period in the Southeast."

Good to know everyone was getting such solid, good information, eh?

(Courtesy National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

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