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Granite Construction Buys 1.2MW Solar Array

Granite Construction Inc. has completed a 1.2 MW solar array at its aggregate and hot mix facility in Coalinga, Calif., using parts from eIQ Energy Inc., Siemens and Solar Frontier.

The system – which includes eIQ Energy’s vBoost DC Parallel System – is believed to be the largest completed solar electric generating system to use distributed power electronics, according to eIQ.

eIQ’s distributed power electronics system targets labor and material savings by eliminating much of the wiring, combiner boxes, and installation costs required by traditional series-wired systems.

The installation uses thin-film solar modules from Solar Frontier and inverters from Siemens. It is expected to offset up to 50 percent of the facility’s total energy requirements.

In other solar news, GE has announced that is plans to open the U.S.’s largest solar panel manufacturing plant in Aurora, Colo., in 2012.

The proposed facility will create 355 jobs and, at capacity, will produce enough panels per year to power 80,000 homes, GE says. The plant’s first shipments are expected in 2013.

GE told Bloomberg Businessweek that when the new plant is fully operational, it expects to be making thin-film panels that convert at least 14 percent of the energy in sunlight to electricity. This would make the panels more efficient than those produced by current industry leader First Solar, according to Businessweek.

Earlier this month, GE Energy Industrial Solutions announced a partnership with Inovateus Solar to build solar-powered, vehicle-charging carports for office buildings, governments, universities and sports complexes.

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