AEC solar array construction is underway

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Kevin Short, general manager of Anza Electric Cooperative Inc., describes how each solar cell is connected to the system. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

The second phase of the SunAnza solar array construction is well underway in the fields next to the Anza Electric Cooperative Inc.’s office in Anza. Construction started in July, with expected completion in November.

“The second phase of the SunAnza project not only adds more generation to our portfolio, it also provides the capability to back up a part of our system in the event our incoming transmission goes down,” Kevin Short, general manager of AEC, said. “While this is still only a portion of the backup capability we need, it’s a great start down the road of better independence and reliability. Stay tuned for more to come.”

The second phase of Sun Anza construction is complicated, yet right on schedule. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

The 8,700 solar panels in the first phase are producing 2 megawatts of power each day, which saves the AEC more than $100,000 per year in supplied power costs. These savings are passed on to the membership of the cooperative.

While solar consists of a diverse combination of technologies, there are three main types: photovoltaics, solar heating and cooling and concentrating solar power. Solar photovoltaic, which is the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity, is what powers AEC’s solar array.

Photovoltaic panels have no moving parts and use an inverter to change the direct current power they produce to usable alternating current power.

Inverters stand ready to accept power from the solar panels when the system is complete. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Rows upon rows of solar panels sparkle in the bright sun. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

The second phase of the array will produce 1.5 gigawatts when completed.

For more information on SunAnza, call the AEC at 951-763-4333 or visit http:/www.anzaelectric.org/content/sunanza or http://www.anzaelectric.org/.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.