ChevronTexaco Installs CA Solar PV Facility

June 09, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures (Houston, TX) announced that its energy services subsidiary, Chevron Energy Solutions LP (Chevron ES), has completed installation of the first solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in California to help power oil field operations. At 500kW, the demonstration project is one of the largest PV installations in the US, and the largest array of flexible, amorphous-silicon, solar technology in the world.

The new six-acre facility, called Solarmine, resulted from the collaboration of ChevronTexaco and United Solar Systems Corp., a subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices Inc. Located about 40 miles from Bakersfield in California's San Joaquin Valley, the project is connected to the local electric distribution system and provides power to oil-well pumping units and processing plants in ChevronTexaco's Midway-Sunset oil field.

The facility is comprised of 4,800 flexible, current-producing, solar panels, each about 1.3ft x 18ft, mounted on metal frames that resemble car ports. Unlike glass-based PV systems, the amorphous-silicon-technology-based panels can withstand direct impact and puncture without compromising the ability to generate power. As a result, the panels are candidates for commercial roofing and other large applications that require flexibility and resilience.