A Wiki Page for the Amonix Alamosa CPV Solar Generating Plant.



Thank You WIKI

In today’s world; Honey Boo Boo grabs the headlines, and until last night, there was not a single person interested in challenging  what I post on this hobby site as personal opinion about Amonix.

Then an email arrives last night to say that Alamosa has met it’s PPA, and maybe it’s time I updated my opinion? Was I all too wrong about Amonix?  Meeting the PPA? At what cost?

The Wiki page has arrived, and we’ll see how it does to sort out the facts of the Amonix 7700s and what it takes to operate such a plant.  My personal opinion, what’s it worth? It hasn’t helped to encourage conversation here that’s for sure.  DIYers have interest in personal sized solar PV, but the commercial side is of far less interest to them I guess.

This WIKI page might create some interest, and we’ll see if someone is able to push Amonix and their supporters off this worthless claim of high cell efficiency and into the daylight where we might discuss making a KWH of AC through the meter and, and how long it will take to pay off the investment?

There it is on the WIKI page! The claim this plant is certified to operate for 50 years. What the hell does that mean?

A system full of complexity, hydraulic pumps, hydraulic fluid, hoses, gears, tremendous wind loading, a need to ‘stow’ the panels when winds hit a certain speed in the desert.  An environment so harsh, freezing cold, hail, blowing dust.  A plant designed with series circuits with no diagnostics to help identify a shorted element?  How many places to manually check, how much Tech time does it take?  One element can trip out an inverter until a technician can trouble shoot it. The need to change hydraulic fluid? To maintain gear heads? To replace broken plastic covers?

Those sudden heavy seasonal rains, high wind gusts, what problems do they create for an operator?

What power plant would I compare the Amonix power plant to in an effort to evaluate the worth of it’s complexity and high parts count?  I’ve mentioned the Road Runner, a single axis thin film power plant that appears to outperform the Amonix 7700 in power output per name plate MW as measured through the meter, and will we ever know the difference in operating costs?  If the public purse is involved in funding a project, it should all be an open book, where’s the data, and if anyone were proud of the Amonix maintenance figures, wouldn’t they be on the front page of some Gang Green Publication? Why is it all we see is a claim of high cell efficiency? Maybe we need read the ‘technical’ details at the Huffington Post?     

Of course my opinion is all based on a life time of personal experience trying to keep the elements out of different enclosures, and what happens over time. Perhaps the most frustrating experience is in areas where sudden temperature changes happen and moisture is present, condensation problems, loading from hail and far more.  I recall other things ‘certified’ and I wonder what the value is? Does that mean the ‘Good Fairy’ (The American Tax Payer) has underwritten it and Issues a warranty? Do they pick up unanticipated maintenance expense for 50 years?

How many trackers were placed at Alamosa to meet the PPA, and what might have been added after that and why?            

I need your help! If there’s any reason to praise Amonix, PLEASE help me find it!

Why hasn’t the Las Vegas Sun followed the Amonix story?

Today, I dropped by this site http://www.epelectric.com/renewable-energy/menu. I’m thankful that this company does so much to inform their ratepayers and investors with power production numbers.  As typical the far less complex and likely cheaper Road Runner thin film single axis power plant put out 76 percent of its name plate capacity best hour, and Hatch turned in a best in a long time best hour performance of 74%

Rumors say Hatch has had two full time techs working to keep the equipment up to service, I wonder how that compares to the Road Runner?      

But this is by no means the whole story, there are times when the wind blows and the Amonix trackers stow, or when high clouds seem to put a huge dent in power production, as happens in CPV, but the Road Runner does quite well on those days with high clouds.  Just how much worse or better does Amonix do that mono crystalline or even thin film like the road runner uses?

Perhaps we can take the number of trackers initially planned for Alamosa, and note those added later? Divide one by the other, does that give us the percentage of underperformance as per what they expected? 

I  write about this technology as a hobbyist, I am no more than a hobbyist, and all I write is opinion. There’s so many gang green sites, and most will only post the stuff spoon fed to them by the NREL, the Operating Company, or the Manufacturer, why is that?

Will this WIKI be the tool that actually establishes a realistic measure of the value of the Amonix 7700?

Please do consider leaving a comment, I’d love to hear how my opinion differs from yours..






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10 Responses to A Wiki Page for the Amonix Alamosa CPV Solar Generating Plant.

  1. Bill knighton says:

    For comparison here is what apple is doing in Maiden, NC with their complete 100 acre pv farm and an additional 100 acre farm under construction.
    100 acres, 20 megawatts, 42 million kwhrs per year expected.
    When the doubling is complete that is 84 million kwhrs on 200 acres compared to Alamosa with 87 million kwhrs on 225 acres. The apple farms are nothing special. They do track north south on one axis.

  2. Bill knighton says:

    The pic on the apple link shows a worker between rows. The panels seem to be on 4 or 6″ galvanized tubing 5 feet off the ground. It looks like a regular ground array that someone might put in their yard. It would be a rip if the alamosa plant with added cost and proprietary tech only makes a similar power on a similar sized piece of land. That is the case if everyone’s numbers are correct. Also, nc is a rainy swamp of a state. I live here. I have never lived near the alamosa plant but it is 7000 feet higher than the apple farm and only gets 7.25 inches of rain compared to 47.6″ maiden nc gets!!! It does look like the complex 2 axis arrays with concentrators are underperforming much simpler technology.

    • George B. says:

      As many of us have learned, different sites can offer different challenges. Was it Guy Blanchard that said that these sites ALAMOSA and HATCH were ideal for the 7700 technology? High winds, heavy gusting at times, snow, hail, blowing dust? What you describe Apple investiing in sounds very similiar to the Road Runner with the online power meter I enjoy watching. On days when there are high scattered clouds it really affects CPV production, but it’s Amazing how well this road runner does on those sam days. never a day when the panels stow, and make zero KWHs through the meter.

      To meet the PPA? At what cost, and how many trackers were added over what was initially planned? And those extra added trackers, whose dime was that on? Perhaps that’s why Amonix was cash poor soon after alamosa was finished up?

  3. Bill knighton says:

    This article from last month says alamosa expects 76million kwhrs, not 87 like the wiki link. So less power on more land?

  4. George B. says:

    Bill, since there really are no official conversations I can find on performance of these plants, we need call any unofficial REPORTS rumor. It is very sad that the air ways were full of hype, and then dead silence once these sites were fully deployed. Suspicious I’d say. No interviews granted in the field that I know of and and least one blogger that does try to honestly cover Solar Tech expressed disappointment when he felt he was being shuned by one of the operators.. (my take of the situation).

    So the Rumors are.. someone figured out that the first number of trackers placed wouldn’t meet the PPA, and then more were added. The picture of the site, it’s not square, are those extras the ones that were not initially planned to be there in order to meet the PPA?

    But still…. who would invest in this technology WITHOUT knowing how many parts and pieces needed to be replaced and just how many maintenance hours it required? And exactly what percentage of the cells are presently burned out and need replacign at this very moment?

    The average guy doesn’t care, and how many who own some kind of green fund even know they’re invested?

  5. don lockner says:

    I read in the company statement where the panels require replacing after just 20 years.

    • George B. says:

      In my opinion, this is a very subjective statement, and we need to tie it back to reality. The objective is to create a KWH at a price LESS than what it cost to produce it.

      It’s all so easy to compare the KISS simple Road Runner power plant to the Amonix 7700. We also need note the authors of articles who write about CPV. It’s rather amazing that their talents are centered around their knowledge of the key board, and their ability to funnel traffic by a collection of advertisements from which they are paid. Most of what they post is the propaganda and hype from the sales and marketing types.

      Hatch is just now getting back to about 4200 KW best hour levels of production, this is the same level the power plant operated at WHEN it was known to be full of problems. Some hands on types say it’s unlikely that the operator will find a profitable way to invest in bringing the power plant up to it’s advertised output, because there will be no return on the investment. As I have mentioned, and so have others with CPV experience, it’s a war between the maintenance people and the environment, this is an unsealed environment, bugs, bacteria, dust, dirt, water, ice, wind, UV, and more all work against you.

      No Automotive Engineer with any experience would consider such an ‘open’ system for a head light or tail light on a car. He’d expect trouble to move in before the warranty ended. It’s my opinion, but a well reasoned one I think.

      Meanwhile, we can all watch the WIKI, will they ever add the missing months of power production? Will we have confidence in what they post? So far, I have reason to believe in EPE. In DOE, and NREL.. not so much.

  6. Cliff Claven says:

    EIA is now reporting Alamosa generation. See http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser/#/plant/57368/

    • George B. says:

      Cliff, I greatly appreciate your post. This is exactly what Americans should know about alternative energy, at least it’s an important part of it.. Thank you!

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