Bechtel and Solfocus Deliver Renewable Power for California Agribusiness

01 April 2011 FREDERICK, Maryland

Bechtel, SolFocus, and developer Sol Orchard announced today that a one-megawatt high concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) power plant was completed for Nichols Farms, a pistachio farm in Hanford, CA. The solar plant, which utilizes the SolFocus SF-1100S CPV systems, was designed and built by Bechtel.

“Helping to advance high-efficiency, large-scale solar energy is a strategic interest for Bechtel,” said Ian Copeland, president of Bechtel’s Renewable Power division. “The SolFocus system provides a combination of high-efficiency CPV with rapid installation capabilities that can deliver cost competitive power very quickly.”

The power plant is located on six acres adjacent to the pistachio processing facility and will produce 2.244 million kilowatt hours in the first year, providing roughly 70 percent of the farm’s electricity demand. SolFocus CPV technology employs a system of patented reflective optics to concentrate sunlight 650 times onto small, highly efficient solar cells.

“This CPV agribusiness project with Nichols Farms is the first of its kind in North America,” said Mark Crowley, CEO of SolFocus. “It demonstrates how SolFocus technology can easily accommodate a wide variety of energy demands that farms and other agricultural sites need.”

Solar project developer Sol Orchard introduced the concept to Nichols Farms. “This is the third project we have developed utilizing SolFocus technology,” commented Sol Orchard President Jeff Brothers. “The high energy yield and reliable products allow us to move forward on projects quickly and with good financial results. Bringing Bechtel in as the contractor gave us assurance that when the switch was flipped, we’d have a robust power plant capable of delivering on all of its expectations.”