San Diego Gas and Electric to test water suspended solar power tech

San Diego, Calif., October 23, 2009 — San Diego Gas and Electric joined with Pyron Solar of San Diego to test an advanced concentrated solar-power system that floats in a shallow pool of water and is expected to generate electricity at higher efficiencies and lower costs than conventional flat-panel photovoltaic systems.

The objective of the 18-month demonstration project is to validate the technology for potential broad commercial applications.

Now being installed at SDG&E’s Mission Control/Skills Training Center in Mission Valley, the technology utilizes acrylic lenses and a dual-tracking system floating in water to concentrate the sun’s rays and focus the sunlight on a proprietary glass optic. The glass optic spreads the sunlight evenly over advanced photovoltaic cells to generate electricity.

According to Pyron Solar, the new technology has the potential to cut solar power costs by more than half, as compared with typical commercial rooftop flat-panel photovoltaic systems.

The savings are due, in part, to the use of concentrating optical devices, rather than more expensive semi-conductor material. Water is used as a passive coolant to disperse the heat generated by the photovoltaic cells to prevent overheating of critical system components and for increased efficiencies.

When fully operational later this year, the resulting 20 kilowatts of solar-generated electricity will be used to help power SDG&E’s Mission Control/Skills Training Center.

Since July 2008, SDG&E has announced plans for San Diego’s largest solar power initiative; added 1 MW of clean energy to the San Diego region through its Sustainable Communities projects and voluntarily agreed to become the first California utility to have 33 percent of its portfolio from renewables by 2020.

SDG&E is a regulated public utility serving 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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