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Renewable Briefing: Qwest Center, UTC, Google

The Octagon, a New York City waterfront apartment building, has become the first residential property in New York State to be powered and heated by a 400 kilowatt (kW) fuel cell.

The fuel cell, a PureCell System Model 400 from UTC Power, is a combined heat and power (CHP) system that converts natural gas to electricity and heat through a combustion-free, electrochemical process. The energy efficiency achieved by the fuel cell is significantly higher than the energy received from the grid, and emissions are negligible, UTC says. The company estimates that the fuel cell will reduce carbon emissions at the site by 790 metric tons annually.

The project received $1.2 million in financial incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

A Silicon Valley school district will save $3 million dollars next year and an estimated $43 million in life-of-project savings with its new solar installations and energy efficiency projects, reports SustainableBusiness.com. According to the report, the East Side Union High School District has worked with Chevron Energy Solutions on the installation of a 7.1 MW solar system that will cut electricity usage by 55 percent per year; it the largest solar project for any school district in the U.S.

The Qwest Field Event Center, home to the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC professional sports teams, plans to a install solar array that will cover over 2.5 acres, projected to generate over 830,000 kWh of electricity annually. The 3,750 solar panels from Solyndra use a thin-film technology that captures both direct and reflected sunlight across a 360-degree cylinder-type surface, reports SustainableBusiness.com.

The teams worked with Seattle-based energy specialists McKinstry to install the solar array as well as to develop a comprehensive energy conservation project for the venue. According to the article, the combined projects will cut utility costs by 21 percent per year, and reduce annual carbon emissions by 1,346 metric tons.

Google has invested $55 million in one of California’s largest wind energy projects, Alta IV. The firm signed a leveraged lease arrangement with Terra-Gen for the 102MW project, in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. Under the deal, Google will buy Alta IV, then lease it back to Terra-Gen, which will manage and operate the project under a long-term agreement. The deal brings Google’s total clean energy investment above $400 million, reports BusinessGreen.

Standard Solar and Atlantic City, N.J., have announced the development of a 598 kW solar electric project for commercial, government and residential customers. The system will use 2,500 Trina Solar panels projected to generate about 803 MWh of electricity per year – or just over half of the power requirements for the City’s Public Works Building.

The savings to the city could reach more than $50,000 in the first year, and $454,611 over the 15-year life of the agreement with the Maryland-based company. The project will be built under a power purchase agreement requiring no capital outlay from the city, according to their news statement.

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