enXco’s Nanosolar Photovoltaic Projects in Oregon

[Amity, Oregon USA]

In search of the Yamhill and Bellevue solar projects.
Both projects cost about $11 Million or almost $3.86 per Watt using 200 Watt Nanosolar Utility Panels.

From enXco Yamhill and Bellevue Solar Projects

I had very specific plans for a free afternoon in Portland, Oregon. On a partly cloudy day, with the emphasis on the cloudy, I took a short drive to Yamhill County and the location of the two enXco, Inc., an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company, solar installations using Nanosolar Utility Panels. I hatched the idea back when I posted EDF Energies Nouvelles update on Nanosolar Photovoltaic projects.

At first I was planning to wing it, figuring the sites should be easy to find. When I read both projects were in the southeast portion of Yamhill County contrary to my assumptions, I knew some preparation was necessary. The Yamhill County Planning Commission September 2, 2010, Meeting Minutes provided all the requisite location and project information. The solar projects are located about 2.4 miles (3.9 kilometers) apart on the SW Bellevue Highway between Amity and Bellevue.

View enXco Yamhill and Bellevue Solar Projects in a larger map

Yamhill Solar Project
I decided to stop and survey the Yamhill solar project first. enXco has an excellent
project page with photos. The 1.19 MWp (MegaWatt-peak) project consists of 5940 Nanosolar Utility Panels deployed on 9.4 acres (3.4 hectares). Dividing 1.19 MWp by the 5940 modules confirms these are 200 Watt CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) Nanosolar Utility Panels with a module efficiency of 9.99% using three significant digits. The same wattage modules were used in the Camp Perry Solar Project and corroborate what Nanosolar told Tom Cheyney in “Nanosolar supplies 6MW of CIGS PV panels for projects in France, Oregon”. Unfortunately, my Canon PowerShot SX230 HS was unable to capture a module rating label.

From enXco Yamhill and Bellevue Solar Projects

The Nanosolar panels are mounted in groups of twelve, three high by four wide arranged length wise, on a racking solution I have not identified. The project inverter was supplied by Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:AEIS) and appears to be a variant of the turnkey PowerStation Integrated Solution interconnecting to the distribution grid.

From enXco Yamhill and Bellevue Solar Projects
From enXco Yamhill and Bellevue Solar Projects

At Yamhill, I was introduced to the local soil, an insidious muddy clay that sticks to everything, including grass, and continues to accumulate until scraped off with vigorous force.

Bellevue Solar Project
The Bellevue solar
project page provides similar enlightenment. The 1.66 MWp Bellevue solar project consists of 8316 Nanosolar Utility Panels deployed on 11.9 acres (4.82 hectares). Simple division again confirms the modules are 200 Watt Nanosolar Utility Panels. From the inset photos, the Bellevue project uses the same racking and inverter solution as Yamhill, but the only access is from the SW Bellevue Highway to the North.

From enXco Yamhill and Bellevue Solar Projects

Project Costs
Hot new crop on a 25-year rotation” by Edward Stratton for the Yamhill Valley News-Register said:

Together, the two arrays are costing enXco about $11 million. At the end of 25 years, it will have to either pull out or negotiate new terms with its partners.

At an installed cost of $11 million, the combined system capacity of the Bellevue and Yamhill solar projects is about 2.85 MWp (MegaWatt-peak) resulting in a project cost of almost $3.86 per Watt.

As a reminder, the Portland General Electric Company (NYSE: POR) signed 25-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with enXco for the power generated by both solar projects.

At the PV Insider 4th Annual Thin Film Summit USA, Nanosolar Vice President of Worldwide Sales & Marketing Brian Stone said:

So from an efficiency standpoint, we will likely never be the efficiency leader, but our goal is to be efficiency competitive and to really focus on cost.
Today we are shipping 11% panels. We plan to ship 12 and 13% panels next year with our printing process in 2012. And then we believe by 2013 and 2014, we can reach 14, 15, and ultimately 16% efficiency.

So far those 11% Nanosolar Utility Panels have not emerged in a project. Perhaps these will first be used in the 1 MWp solar project being constructed in early 2012 at the Camp Roberts California National Guard Base near Paso Robles, California USA, with partner BELECTRIC, Inc. At least there were no concave modules observed in Oregon.

I wish all my readers and subscribers a Happy Holiday. Please see Best Wishes for the Holidays and an Epic 2012! for my online greeting card.

I know my thoughts will be preoccupied with the tragic news about Amonix CEO Brian Robertson.

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