OPEL Solar, Inc., a leading global supplier of high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar panels and other solar products including ground-based and rooftop tracker systems, announced it has reached agreement to begin construction on a 446 kilowatt (kW) solar power plant at the 70-acre headquarters of Toray Plastics (America), Inc. (TPA) in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. This new utility field represents Toray’s first solar installation in the U.S. and will be one of the largest utility grade solar plants in Rhode Island. Toray Plastics chose OPEL Solar’s solution because of its higher energy production and lowest cost per kilowatt-hour generated. This higher system efficiency is largely due to OPEL’s utility scale single axis tracker – the TF-800, which significantly increases the energy output of any type of photovoltaic (PV) panel.
The solar project is a significant achievement for OPEL Solar. Not only does the Toray agreement represent a multi-million dollar contract for OPEL, but just as important, it is the first implementation of OPEL’s new strategic business directions. In addition to the brownfield initiative announced several months ago, OPEL is also pursuing being a full service provider for select solar projects.
The solar field will be comprised of 1650 PV panels mounted on 50 of OPEL Solar’s TF-800 utility scale single axis trackers. Toray Plastics recognized the benefits of adopting a solution which would result in 20 percent higher energy output than that of conventional fixed-mounted PV panels. “The reverse tracking capabilities of the TF-800 also allow a more efficient use of the land by avoiding shadowing on the PV panels at any time during the day and throughout the year,” said Frank Middleton, COO of OPEL Solar, Inc. “The modular design of the TF-800 results in quick and cost effective installation by craft people without the need of special machinery or welding equipment,
significantly reducing installation costs,” added Middleton.
The Toray Plastics solar field is expected to generate 625 Megawatt Hours (MWh) per year, which is the equivalent of supplying electric power for an entire year to more than 100 homes. Also, this will be a solar project that puts Rhode Island employees to work constructing an advanced solar field. Using a ground mounted tracking system affords the opportunity to have workers learn new skills for the clean economy. The Toray & OPEL Solar installation showcases all the important elements that clean solar energy offers as an alternative to fossil fuels.
“OPEL Solar is pleased to collaborate with Toray Plastics to bring solar energy to its facilities, starting with their headquarters, while also creating jobs in Rhode Island as construction begins,” said Leon M. Pierhal, CEO of OPEL Solar, Inc. “As the overall project manager leading the team responsible for construction of Toray Plastics’ new solar field, we believe OPEL Solar offers the best solar solution available, and that our work together will provide an excellent model for OPEL and Toray to advance solar energy usage in the future.”
“Toray has multiple locations throughout the U.S.; thus we are optimistic that our successful collaboration in Rhode Island may lead to additional solar projects,” he added.
Toray Plastics is a solid example of using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds provided by both the Federal and state governments to create new clean energy sources and new jobs. The project is eligible for both Federal funds and state funds awarded by the Economic Development Commission for the State of Rhode Island. Project design and equipment orders will commence immediately, with construction slated to begin in the spring of 2011.