Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CEC Requesting Reliability Data from Tessera Solar

The California Energy Commission (CEC) requested that Tessera Solar LLC submit detailed logs on the reliability of its "Suncatcher" solar technology,  potentially reflecting doubt about the effectiveness of the company's proposals.  According to transcripts of a 20 September CEC hearing, the CEC Staff believed that Tessera Solar should be required to submit reliability data in order to be allowed to proceed with its Imperial Valley Solar project, which is proposed for over 6,000 acres of California Desert habitat.   Tessera Solar is the same company that is also proposing to bulldoze another 4,600 acres of the Mojave Desert for the Calico Solar power project.

Both the Calico Solar and Imperial Valley Solar projects would utilize the "Suncatcher" technology.  Each Suncatcher resembles a giant satellite dish that would harness solar energy.  This technology is not as tested as parabolic technology selected for other solar projects since the Suncatchers involve more working parts in order to rotate and track the path of the sun during the day, making them prone to a potentially higher rate of failure.   Additionally, the Suncatcher technology is very loud, and placing thousands of the dishes on the Calico and Imperial sites would be disruptive to the quiet solitude for miles around the sites.  For the Imperial Valley project, a nearby location could have ambient noise increased by 19 decibels, according to a CEC Staff Assessment.

The fact that the CEC Staff requested data on the reliability of the Suncatchers and have gone so far as to include this as a condition necessary to the approval of Tessera Solar's Imperial site suggests the concerns have caught the attention of Sacramento.  It would be a tremendous waste if Tessera Solar's projects fail after it receives approval to bulldoze thousands of acres of prime desert wilderness on public land, using taxpayer money (in the form of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds). 

Screenshot of Suncatchers taken from the CEC PMPD document available on the CEC website.

2 comments:

  1. Bulldoze? Please do some research....

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  2. sorry Anonymous...I forgot that there is a miraculous way of placing thousands of Suncatchers in desert habitat without degrading the quality of vegetation and killing wildlife. Please enlighten me on this wonder.

    ReplyDelete