Pilot project evaluating “smart” solar energy systems underway

The project is in collaboration with Petra Solar, a South Plainfield, N.J. based clean tech company. Its SunWave systems are now installed on poles in a test facility at Tampa Electric, an investor-owned utility based in Tampa.

Tampa Electric president Gordon Gillette said: “We are pleased to participate in this study with Petra to determine how to better integrate solar photovoltaic installations into our service territory. The study also will help us better understand how to utilize this technology with future Smart Grid applications.”

In order to evaluate the Petra Solar system, Tampa Electric installed the SunWave solar systems in its utility test yard. The panels, which weigh 55 to 65 pounds and can be installed in less than 30 minutes, were mounted to wood and concrete utility poles and aluminum streetlight poles.

Petra Solar is also currently fulfilling a $200 million contract with PSE&G, New Jersey’s largest utility company, to provide SunWave systems for installation on 200,000 streetlight and utility poles. When completed in 2012, the project will contribute 40 megawatts to PSE&G’s generation capacity.