VTA & Skyline Solar Kick Off Power Plant Partnership
|Release Number: || nr05-07|
|Release Date: || May 12, 2009|
Public-Private Effort Provides VTA With Electricity
SAN JOSE, Calif.--The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is now beginning to consume electricity generated by solar power at its Cerone Bus Maintenance and Operations Division in North San Jose.
The new High Gain Solar (HGS) power plant built by Skyline Solar of Mountain View is being dedicated at 3 p.m., Friday, May 15. The VTA facility is the first grid connected solar power plant built using Skyline Solar equipment which solves the two main barriers to solar, cost and scalability.
In return for providing a test and development site to Skyline – only a few miles from the company’s headquarters -- the VTA gains rights to all power generated by the 27-kilowatt plant, an amount of power equal to the consumption of a medium sized office building in California.
“This public-private partnership with a local solar manufacturing company illustrates how VTA is working to leverage its resources to benefit the environment and save money at the same time,” said Michael Burns, VTA general manager. “Thanks to Skyline Solar, our first significant solar installation is now up and running and is providing VTA with clean, renewable energy and a unique learning experience.”
Earlier this month, Skyline Solar introduced its HGS architecture after achieving several key company milestones, including the completion of the VTA plant. Skyline Solar is currently in pilot manufacturing and has started the certification process on its system for broad market applications.
“Our partnership with the VTA is a perfect example of how private and public-sector organizations can work together to accelerate the adoption of the latest renewable energy technology,” said Bob MacDonald, CEO of Skyline Solar. “The VTA plant demonstrates the performance, installation and scalability advantages of a systems-based, high gain solar approach. Skyline Solar is ready to collaborate with the VTA and other public entities on innovative solar projects.”
The HGS system utilizes single-axis tracking, durable reflector material and a small number of silicon cells. The system is designed to be manufactured in traditional factories – like automotive plants -- which are more widely available and less capital intensive than silicon processing plants used in the traditional solar industry. The Skyline design also has positive environmental attributes including its focus on recyclable metal reflective racks which leverage small quantities of high-efficiency silicon to transform sunlight into electricity. Skyline’s system is 95% more recyclable than conventional photovoltaic systems.
The solar plant at Cerone demonstrates Skyline’s HGS system architecture on a modest scale and the company is already working with partners to plan much larger systems starting later in 2009. At the same time, VTA long-range planners are eyeing future solar projects where VTA will be able to realize the potential to generate a significant portion of its overall electrical needs. VTA operates four large facilities where either buses or light rail vehicles are stored and/or repaired, with a fifth facility housing mostly administrative functions.
In anticipation of those large-scale installations, VTA last year supported Assembly Bill 2466 in Sacramento. That legislation, signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, makes it possible for government agencies in California to receive full credit for any excess solar energy put into the regional power grid. That means power generated at Cerone Division could be counted toward power consumption at other VTA facilities.
“We are pleased to be working with Skyline Solar on this joint demonstration project which highlights VTA’s focus on renewable energy as part of our larger Sustainability Program,” said Michael Hursh, VTA deputy director, operations maintenance.
VTA established its Sustainability Program in 2007 in order to proactively reduce the agency’s consumption of natural resources, the creation of greenhouse gases and the generation of pollution. The new solar power plant will be another measure adding to VTA’s many efforts. By July 2009, the Sustainability Program is projected to be saving VTA $800,000 a year through energy conservation and other initiatives.
The VTA-Skyline Solar collaboration also has significant positive implications for the local economy.
“San Jose has rapidly become the center of solar technology innovation and business development. Skyline Solar epitomizes the innovative thinking that has come to symbolize our region,” said Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose. “While most solar manufacturers focus on tomorrow’s solar technology, Skyline Solar is solving the problem of how to maximize what is available today to create a system that is greater than the sum of its parts. This approach is creating jobs for construction workers, welders, electricians and a number of other skilled laborers, while helping to improve our region’s carbon footprint. Skyline Solar is rapidly defining what it means to provide a ‘shovel-ready’ photovoltaic system.”
Go To Top
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is an independent special district that provides sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of our region. VTA is responsible for bus, light rail and paratransit operations; congestion management; specific highway improvement projects; countywide transportation planning and provides these services to cities throughout the county including Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale. VTA continually builds partnerships to deliver transportation solutions that meet the evolving mobility needs of Santa ClaraCounty.
About Skyline Solar
Skyline Solar manufactures High Gain Solar (HGS) arrays incorporating industry-proven silicon cells, durable reflector materials and single-axis tracking into a complete, easy-to-deploy system. Skyline HGS delivers ten times more energy per gram of silicon than traditional flat panel systems. Built primarily out of commodity materials and assembled using globally available manufacturing processes, Skyline HGS simultaneously improves financial payback and scalability, thereby accelerating the path to grid parity.
Skyline was founded in 2007 and is led by veterans of the solar energy and high volume manufacturing industries. The company is funded by NEA, other VCs and strategic investors. Skyline also received funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to accelerate production. Skyline went from prototype to first grid connected customer in less than one year and is now engaging partners and end customers for production systems starting in late 2009. For more information, visit www.skyline-solar.com