COMMERCIAL SOLAR IN DEATH VALLEY
REFURBISHING A TEN-YEAR-OLD 1.2 MW SINGLE-AXIS TRACKER TO RENEWED GLORY AS A 2 MW HIGH-EFFICIENCY MODERN PV POWER PLANT
After performing an extensive physical and electrical analysis of the PV array site at The Oasis in Death Valley resort in Death Valley National Park California on a consultant basis, Independent Power Systems (IPS) was selected to perform a three-phase upgrade and expansion for the failing 10-year-old 1.2 MW single-axis tracking PV system, increasing the overall system size to 2 MW. The now fully-functioning, high-efficiency, high-productivity plant features 5,656 state-of-the-art, 23% efficient SunPower 360 Watt panels and superior, modular inverters with much higher yields.
At 300 feet below sea-level and boasting the highest temperatures in the continental United States at 138 degrees Fahrenheit, Death Valley is a harsh environment for any major equipment. Recognizing these challenges, Xanterra Travel Collection—operator of The Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Resort)—enlisted IPS to provide a thorough electrical engineering report detailing the physical and electrical state of the equipment and provide recommendations for maximizing production for the aging system and upgrading the equipment to sustain the harsh environment over time. IPS also provided support for Xanterra’s entering into a new interconnection agreement with Southern California Edison for the upgraded PV system.
The remaining phases of the project entailed a major overhaul of Xanterra’s system, which required the replacement of the old, failing Sharp PV modules with the highest efficiency panels – SunPower SPR360s and upgrading the 2 Satcon 500 kW inverters with 27 Delta 60 kW inverters, nearly doubling its initial energy production. The increase in production was due in part to both an increased power density thanks to the high-efficiency panels as well as an increased electrical energy production per rated watt. Equipped with the superior SunPower Maxeon technology, the resort is now able to generate more energy over a greater range of temperatures, light angles, and spectrums, turning the Valley’s abundant sunshine into clean electricity for visitors to the area.
Read more about solar power in America’s National Parks.
"The doubled production gains within the same footprint of the older system is a testament to SunPower’s robust products and the decision to use them was a no brainer. With the right design and engineering, technologies such as these have been proven to succeed, even in the most extreme conditions"
FOUNDER AND CEO, INDEPENDENT POWER SYSTEMS