AstroPower's Solar-Electric Plant Exceeds Expectations

May 22, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

AstroPower Inc. (Newark, DE) and GPU Solar announced that their solar-electric power plant in Hopland, CA exceeded expectations for annual output during its first year of operation. The 132kW plant is owned and operated by GPU Solar, a joint venture of AstroPower and GPU Diversified Holdings (Morristown, NJ), in cooperation with Green Mountain Energy Co. (Austin, TX), PowerLight Corp. (Berkeley, CA), and Real Goods Trading Corp. (Santa Rosa, CA), now a division of Gaiam Inc. (Broomfield, CO).

The “Solar 2000” power plant, which is claimed to be the first grid-connected solar power plant built exclusively to meet the needs of California's deregulated electricity market, is located at the Real Goods Solar Living Center in Hopland, CA. It was designed and constructed by PowerLight, and features one of the largest operating solar electric power arrays in the state of California.

The 15,000-square-foot plant generated more than 163,000kWh in its first year of operation. “That's seven percent above our predictions for the year, so we could not be happier with the plant's performance,” said AstroPower vice president, premium power, Howard Wenger. “This plant is one more example of how solar power delivers energy price stability and does so with zero pollution.”

In addition, GPU Solar recently completed another 100kW power plant in partnership with Green Mountain Energy. The plant is located in Berkeley, CA, and is projected to supply an additional 135,000kWh of energy into the California grid this year.