Albuquerque’s Emcore Corp. inaugurated a $10 million, 2-megawatt solar-power array Tuesday at a former landfill next to company headquarters at the Sandia Science & Technology Park in the Southeast Heights.
The facility, which will supply about 20 percent of the power consumed by Emcore’s two buildings at the park, is the first solar farm to be built by Suncore Photovoltaics Inc., a firm that Emcore created in 2010 in joint ownership with Chinese company San’an Optoelectronics.
Suncore, which operates a huge solar-manufacturing facility in central China, launched a subsidiary operation in the U.S. in September to directly build solar projects using its high-performance solar technology.
“It’s our first project outside of China,” said Suncore CEO Charlie Wang. “We expect to participate in a lot more projects throughout the Southwest, which is where we’re focusing our efforts now.”
Emcore CEO Hong Hou said the new solar farm is a “wonderful showcase for advanced technology, and for having tuned a brownfield to green.”
The solar farm rests on 17 acres, which Folium Energy of Texas developed by dumpnig about 4,000 truckloads of clay-based seal on top of the landfill.
Emcore leased it from the State Land Office, which has to date earned more than $1 million, said Land Commissioner Ray Powell. Bernalillo County authorized up to $13 million in industrial revenue bonds in 2011 for the project.
About half of the array panels are high-efficiency photovoltaic modules from Suncore. The rest are traditional silicon PV panels.
Emcore says its concentrating solar panels convert about 30 percent of sunlight to electricity, compared to between 16 and 17 percent with traditional solar systems. That’s because, rather than standard single solar cells, Emcore’s system uses multi-junction cells to capture more sunlight for conversion to electricity. In addition, the panels use powerful magnifying lenses to concentrate solar rays on the cells to intensify energy levels.
Suncore’s “technology is so new that some existing developers and contractors are not familiar with it,” Wang told the Journal. “We’re getting into development to show that the technology is viable, and that it has much better performance than traditional solar panels.”