California utility installs solar cogeneration cooling

Cogenra Solar has announced that its solar cogeneration technology will feature at Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) Energy Resource Center (ERC).

SoCalGas’s demonstration project captures and stores the heat generated by solar cogeneration to power one of the centre’s absorption chillers and support the building’s air-conditioning system on-demand.

In collaboration with Solarrus Corporation, 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.

Cogenra claims its solar cogeneration system uses more than 75% of the energy incident from the sun – versus 15% for conventional PV – by capturing energy in water as well as converting solar energy to electricity.

The technology's heat storage and on-demand availability of cooling can also help reduce electric peak demand charges, according to Cogenra. Peak demand charges for commercial and industrial buildings typically account for more than 30% of their electricity bills.

SoCalGas’ Energy Resource Center includes office space, meeting rooms for workshops and seminars, and an exhibit hall.

‘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.’

Cogenra Solar is a distributed solar cogeneration company based in Mountain View, California.

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