Kyocera's Award-Winning Solar Grove Exceeds Expectations for Annual Power Generation
Parking lot's 25 Solar Trees generated 427,602 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity in first year of operation exceeding design estimate by 6,602 kWh
San Diego, CA, August 8, 2006 – Kyocera’s Solar Grove™ celebrates its one-year anniversary amidst a variety of honors and the exciting news that it outperformed its design estimate of generating 421,000 kilowatt-hours* of electricity per year from sunlight. After twelve full months of operation, the Solar Grove generated 427,602 kilowatt-hours of clean, emission-free electrical energy -- enough to power 69 typical San Diego homes.**
Leading San Diego into the solar age, the system’s 25 “Solar Trees” form a 235-kilowatt carport in an employee parking lot, utilizing a total of 1,400 Kyocera KC-187G solar photovoltaic (PV) modules and 200 custom-manufactured, light-filtering PV modules. The Solar Grove, located at Kyocera’s North American headquarters at 8611 Balboa Avenue in San Diego, is the largest privately owned solar generating system in San Diego County.
The project was recently honored with an “Innovation Award” from the San Diego/Tijuana District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) as part of its “Smart Growth Awards for Excellence” program. The competition recognizes efforts in San Diego County to develop projects that are economically sound, environmentally responsible and supportive of community livability.
“Creating a sustainable parking lot is an innovative way to begin tackling our energy crisis and to preserve the environment,” said Patricia Trauth, a member of the judging panel and assistant vice president at San Diego-based planning and engineering firm Project Design Consultants.
In addition to receiving the ULI Smart Growth Award, Kyocera’s Solar Grove was recently recognized by the San Diego Regional Energy Office with a “Special Achievement in Energy Award” as part of its San Diego Excellence in Energy (SANDEE) award program.
On June 30, a prestigious group including California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger honored Kyocera and other leaders in environmentally friendly energy efficiency with a “Flex Your Power” Award at the State of California’s 2006 Energy Conservation Summit.
The Solar Grove symbolizes Kyocera’s goal to make the San Diego/Tijuana region an important hub in North America’s solar energy industry. Its unique concept models the life process of natural trees by converting sunlight into energy without adding carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere — while providing structures that are both shade-producing and aesthetically pleasing.
“The economic viability of the Solar Grove and future solar carports is supported by the California Public Utilities Commission’s ‘Self-Generation Incentive Program,’ which covered 38% of the project’s cost,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar, Inc. “With ever-rising energy costs, the Solar Grove’s originally estimated payback period of 12 years will likely decrease as external energy costs, such as natural gas and purchased electric rates, continue to rise.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Power Profiler, generating 427,602 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually through conventional fossil fuel resources would release 239 pounds of sulfur dioxide, the principal contributor to acid rain; 415 pounds of nitrous oxide, which has been linked to the destruction of the Earth’s ozone layer; and 344,023 pounds of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas emission that would require more than 46 acres of trees to offset.
The Solar Trees combine the modular building and sustainable design expertise of Tucker Sadler Architects with Kyocera’s world-leading achievements in developing and producing photovoltaic modules and systems. This first-generation unit showcases the innovative concept of transforming a parking lot into a clean electrical generator and easing strain on the utility grid, while keeping vehicles shaded. The modular design accommodates any size or shape, giving virtually any parking lot an economical solar retrofit option that promotes energy independence while preserving the environment.
For 30 years, Kyocera has been pushing the forefront of environmental preservation and promoting sustainable growth by providing solar energy to the world. Kyocera Solar, Inc. is a world-leading supplier of environmentally sound, solar electric energy solutions. With operating headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. and regional sales centers in Brazil and Australia, Kyocera Solar, Inc. serves thousands of customers in both developed and developing regions. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kyocera International, Inc. of San Diego, the North American headquarters and holding company for Kyoto, Japan-based Kyocera Corporation.
Kyocera Corporation (KYO), the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of advanced ceramics. By combining these engineered materials with metals and plastics, and integrating them with other technologies, Kyocera Corporation has become a leading supplier of solar energy systems, telecommunications equipment, semiconductor packages, electronic components, laser printers, copiers and industrial ceramics. During the year ended March 31, 2006, the company’s net sales totaled 1.18 trillion yen (approximately $10 billion).
* kW rating based on PTC / PVUSA test conditions, adjusted for inverter efficiency estimated at 94%.
** Average residence in San Diego, California consumes 6,141 kWh per year (data provided by San Diego Regional Energy Office).