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Nevada Chosen by Solar System Maker For New Plant Site

05/17/2010
Amonix, which nmakes concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems, will spend =$5.9 million of a $9.5 million investment tax credit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit to build a new manufacturing facility in southern Nevada.

When fully operational, the facility will have an annual production capacity of 150 MW of CPV solar systems and employ 278 people in managerial, technical and production jobs, the company says.

Amonix recently dedicated the towering photovoltaic systems it built for the Southern Nevada Water Authority's River Mountains Water Treatment Facility in Henderson, Nev.

With CPV, plastic Fresnel lenses focus intense sunlight on semiconductor material to generate electricity. The semiconductor material is like that used in typical solar-electric modules installed on residential or small-business rooftops, but those panels do not concentrate the sunlight.

Amonix, which is based in the Los Angeles area, calls its equipment MegaModules. The six systems at the water treatment plant are each about 50 feet high and 77 feet wide. They are mounted on trackers that follow the changing position of the sun in the sky throughout the day.

Amonix describes its equipment as being environmentally friendly because the land beneath the systems does not have to be graded and cleared to the extent it does for other ground-mounted solar technologies.

The towering MegaModules are off Interstate 515 on the south side of Henderson, a Las Vegas suburb about 10 miles from the Strip. There are several other high-profile solar installations in the region that demonstrate different technologies. In Boulder City, about 10 miles southeast of Henderson, Nevada Solar One, a 64-megawatt utility-scale power plant, generates solar electricity using parabolic mirrors that focus sunlight on fluid-filled tubes. The heated fluid is used to create steam that spins turbines to produce power.

Also in Boulder City, a 10-megawatt solar power plant uses thin-film photovoltaic modules to produce electricity. Another Amonix installation produces power at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At Nellis Air Force Base on the outskirts of North Las Vegas, a 14-megawatt installation generates electricity using traditional crystalline silicon solar modules, the type most commonly seen on homes and small businesses. Another prominent traditional array is installed above a parking lot at the Springs Preserve and Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas.

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