Solar Project Powers Oil Production

Chevron Energy Solutions has finished installing what it says is the first solar photovoltaic facility in California to help power oil field operations. The 500-kilowatt demonstration project, located about 40 miles from Bakersfield, is connected to the local electric distribution system and provides power to oil well pumping units and processing plants in ChevronTexaco's Midway-Sunset oil field. The six-acre facility, called Solarmine, is a collaboration of ChevronTexaco and United Solar Systems Corp. It is comprised of 4,800 flexible, current-producing solar panels based on amorphous-silicon technology rather than glass. Chevron Energy Solutions says the amorphous-silicon-based photovoltaic systems can withstand a direct impact and puncture without impacting their ability to generate power. "[The project] has given us valuable experience in the design and development of photovoltaic systems for the businesses and institutions we serve," says Jim David, president of Chevron Energy Solutions. The company said it will monitor the facility's output to learn how heat, dust and other environmental factors impact the technology's performance. Chevron Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of ChevronTexaco Corp., is based in San Francisco.

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