KGO Radio Solar Project Update: SolFocus install delayed

[Newark, California USA]

KGO Radio partners with PG&E to solar power their transmitter facility

Back on February 12, 2008, KGO RADIO LAUNCHES SOLAR POWER ACTION PLAN announced a joint project between KGO Radio and PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG) to power KGO Radio’s transmitter with two (2) solar power systems. KGO Radio’s transmitter is located here on the eastern side of the Dumbarton Bridge in the San Francisco Bay area.

Installed by Premier Power, the first system consists of GE photovoltaic arrays ground mounted by and roof mounted on the transmitter buildings. The second system will consist of three (3) SolFocus, Inc., CPV (Concentrating PhotoVoltaic) solar arrays.

KGO Solar Transmitter Project: Work in Progress

The KGO Solar Blog by Art Lebermann has tracked progress on the installation since the announcement.

The KGO Radio Solar Project was supposed to be completed by mid-March 2008, but the project has been delayed by SolFocus as first noted in Progress Report on March 25, 2008. In What’s the Delay?, Nancy Hartsoch, SolFocus Vice President, Corporate Marketing, said:

Some very recent upgrades to our solar tracking technology have caused a slight delay in the installation of the SolFocus CPV panels at KGO’s transmitter site. However, there is no doubt it will be worth the wait! The new technology, developed in Spain and custom-designed for us, allows us to track the sun more accurately, resulting in a more efficient, effective and long-lived system. The significance of this project demands that we ‘get it right’ and use the best technology available. Stay tuned…

Although Major Progress! from April 23, 2008, said:

And in other good news, work on the SolFocus system is scheduled to resume next week.

I didn’t see any activity at the site when I took these Picasa slideshow photos on April 30, 2008.

While the KGO Radio press release states “the two systems will generate 12KW of power”, Premier Power informed me their portion of the installation used fifty (50) 200Wp (Watt-peak) GE solar modules for a 10kWp (kilowatt-peak) system capacity. This would leave a scant 2kWp for the three SolFocus CPV arrays!

By comparison, the SolFocus CPV arrays installed at ISFOC (please see ISFOC First Phase 1.7 MegaWatt Installations Underway) were each rated at 6.2kW. However, the KGO Solar Blog has a photo of a smaller SolFocus array with twelve (12) modules instead of the thirty (30) modules shown in the ISFOC installation.

SolFocus did not respond to my questions before post time. I will add a comment or post a follow up when I can clarify the details.

One comment

  1. Edgar A. Gunther says:

    Nancy Hartsoch, SolFocus Vice President, Corporate Marketing, responded to my questions about the KGO Solar project earlier this week.

    The KGO Solar project will use three (3) of the twelve (12) panel SolFocus CPV arrays rated at 2.46kW each for a total system capacity of 7.38kW. The 12 panel arrays will now use a new SolFocus/Inspira tracker and controller with the same fundamental design as SolFocus’ 30 panel CPV arrays.

    Ms. Hartsoch said:

    “We hope to complete installation and have everything running for KGO prior to the end of the month.”

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