The transit authority in Silicon Valley announced on Friday, May 15, that it is looking to give itself a greener profile. It's not doing it with biofuel buses or maintenance trucks that run on ethanol. Instead, it's running a test project with solar array manufacturer Skyline Solar to harness solar energy. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority unveiled a new 27-kilowatt High Gain Solar array at its San Jose, Calif., bus maintenance and operations facility. The system works like a typical business or residential solar power system, and the electricity produced through the project helps offset the power the VTA purchases from local utility Pacific Gas & Electric.
Skyline Solar's design uses bent sheet metal to reflect the sun's rays onto a silicon collector, which the VTA says solves two main barriers to solar energy--cost and scalability. Using the monocrystalline silicon cells and tracking technology to increase the amount of energy captured, the amount of silicon required is reduced by 90 percent. This design cuts costs further by using globally available manufacturing facilities, like automotive factories, to produce the racks and mounting systems.
May 18, 2009 3:51 PM PDT
Photo by: James Martin/CNET
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