Texaco to Use ECD Solar Panels in Oil Drilling

August 29, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Texaco Inc. (Detroit, MI) announced that it will be using a four- to five-acre solar panel array developed by Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD, Troy, MI) to convert sunlight into electricity for its Kern River oil field near Bakersfield, CA. The solar panels will allow Texaco to use electricity instead of fossil fuels to power the steam generators necessary for drilling operations.

The array will use 9,000 panels, each 18ft x 14in. They will generate 400MW of power, enough to power 500 homes. The project is estimated to cost about $8.0 million, with roughly half the cost picked up by the State of California.

"From a cost perspective, it's a driver. Environmentally, the less of our own heavy hydrocarbons we burn the better," said Jim Metzger, vice president and CTO at Texaco.