Chevron has started the Project Brightfield, a demonstration of next-generation solar energy technologies in Bakersfield, California. The project, created on the site of a former Chevron refinery, will evaluate seven emerging PV technologies to help determine the potential application of renewable power at other company-owned facilities.
The former refinery site has been repurposed to test the performance of six emerging thin-film technologies and one emerging crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology, which were provided by independent solar companies.
The 7,700 solar panels on the 8-acre site will generate approximately 740 kW of electricity. The produced power will be directed to the local utility grid as well as to Chevron's oil production operations at the Kern River Field.
The companies demonstrating thin-film technologies are Abound Solar, MiaSolé, Schüco, Solar Frontier, Sharp, and Solibro, while the crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology is provided by Innovalight. Each solar company can access data about its technology, find out how well it performs in various conditions and compare it against a benchmark solar technology that has also been installed on the site.
Project Brightfield is Chevron's second completed project that repurposes an existing asset to integrate renewable power. The first was a wind farm on a former Texaco refinery site near Casper, Wyoming, where 11 wind turbines generate 16.5 megawatts of power. A third project – a concentrating solar photovoltaic installation at a Chevron Mining Inc. facility near Questa, New Mexico – is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.