Manufacturer Reports

SoCalGas Demonstrates Solar Cogeneration for Solar Cooling

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Cogenra Solar®, a provider of solar cogeneration systems and renewable energy service solutions, has announced a solar cogeneration project at Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) Energy Resource Center (ERC). SoCalGas will be the first utility in the United States to use Cogenra’s solar cogeneration solution and its solar cooling application and launches Cogenra into the solar cooling market.

According to Cogenra, until now solar cogeneration applications included solar hot water, space heating, and electricity; the SoCalGas’ solar cooling application demonstrates solar cogeneration’s versatility in also addressing cooling needs. Instead of using electricity to run mechanical chillers, SoCalGas’ demonstration project captures and stores the heat generated by solar cogeneration to power one of the Energy Resource Center’s absorption chillers and support the building’s air conditioning system on-demand.

“We created the Energy Resource Center over a decade ago to help Southern California businesses learn about energy efficiency technologies and solutions,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SoCalGas. “We encourage the development of innovative solar technologies, like Cogenra’s solar cogeneration system, as they can help strengthen our customers’ environmental efforts. This project also demonstrates our commitment to renewable resources by diversifying the Energy Resource Centers’ energy production from solar cogeneration.”

Cogenra’s solar cogeneration system converts the sun’s energy to produce electricity, like any other photovoltaic (PV) technology, and then captures most of the remaining energy in water, in total using over 75 percent of the energy incident from the sun — versus 15 percent for traditional PV, said the company. The cogeneration system’s heat storage and on-demand availability of cooling offsets not only electrical energy costs but also helps reduce electric peak demand charges. Peak demand charges for typical commercial and industrial buildings can account for more than 30 percent of their electricity bills, said Cogenra.

“We are happy to see SoCalGas embrace cost-effective renewable energy solutions such as solar cogeneration,” said Gilad Almogy, CEO of Cogenra Solar. “To be able to demonstrate our solar cooling capabilities is especially exciting. The Energy Resource Center installation positions solar cogeneration as a versatile solution that helps businesses offset their energy costs related to not only lighting and heat, but also cooling. The dramatic reduction in demand charges with our solution more than doubles the value of solar for our customers and positions Cogenra to cater to customer’s cooling demand which typically correlates very well with the solar energy production.”

SoCalGas’ Energy Resource Center includes office space, meeting rooms for workshops and seminars, and an exhibit hall — in all, capable of accommodating over 700 people. In collaboration with Solarrus Corp., Cogenra Solar installed a 20 SunDeck® module system on the roof of the building. The 50.2 kW installation will produce electricity to power the building and heat to drive a single-effect absorption chiller.

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Publication date: 8/20/2012

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