News Releases

Sierra Pacific Power Project Showcases 'Green' Energy

Sep 6, 2006

Sierra Pacific Power's Reno office building at 6100 Neil Road will soon be getting a portion of its electricity from the sun and the wind.

As part of the company's commitment to demonstrate the benefits of renewable or “green” energy, Sierra Pacific is installing solar panels at its Reno headquarters building that will generate approximately 76 kilowatts of electricity. In addition, a 10-kilowatt wind turbine has already been installed on the southeast corner of the facility. Together, the solar panels and wind turbine will produce enough electricity to power approximately 17 homes.

“We believe in renewable energy and will use these projects to give northern Nevada residents a better understanding of how wind turbines and photovoltaic technology work,” said Mary Simmons, vice president of External Affairs for Sierra Pacific Power.

According to Simmons, the solar panels will consist of two types of“arrays,” or groups of photovoltaic panels that are connected together. A 12-panel array that can move horizontally and vertically to track the sun's movement will be installed near the customer entrance and will generate about 1.2 kilowatts of electricity.
Another solar array consisting of 60 photovoltaic panels will be installed to the north of the building adjacent to Delucchi Lane. This fixed array will produce approximately 75 kilowatts of electricity, Simmons said. (Each panel measures 52 by 39 inches.)

Installation of the tracking array is expected to be completed by mid-September and the fixed array should be in service by October.
Earlier this year, Sierra Pacific's sister company in Las Vegas, Nevada Power Company, installed a photovoltaic system at one of its southern Nevada generating stations that produces up to 75 kilowatts of electricity, and the company plans to install a 115-kilowatt photovoltaic system on the roof of the company's operations center starting in November.

Wind Turbine Features New Technology
Erection of a 60-foot wind turbine at Sierra Pacific's Reno office building was completed on Aug. 31. Consisting of a generator and three 10-foot long blades that resemble aircraft propellers, the wind turbine installation is expected to be fully completed by the end of September, Simmons said

She said the advanced-technology wind turbine was designed and built by Reno-based Cobalt Energy. It utilizes specially-patented components that generate electricity with up to 15 percent more efficiency than a conventional wind turbine generator. Cobalt's prototype generator was tested at the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, which demonstrated that the generator can produce energy with 98 percent efficiency at full load.
Electricity produced by the wind turbine and the solar panels will be converted from direct current to alternating current and fed directly into Sierra Plaza's electrical system.

Eventually, Sierra Pacific Power customers will be able to monitor the output of the new renewable energy systems on the large television monitors located in the customer lobby at Sierra Plaza.