Solar energy is power from the sun’s rays that reach Earth. Using photovoltaic cells made from silicon alloys, sunlight can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat and electricity. Steam generators using thermal collectors to heat a fluid, such as water, sometimes convert even higher amounts of solar energy into electricity.
Volatile oil prices and environmental concerns have fueled interest in alternative energy sources. Solar power can help alleviate local utility systems’ capacity problems, especially during peak electricity demand periods. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the use of electricity generated by fossil-fueled power plants.
What Chevron Is Doing
Chevron Energy Solutions (CES), a Chevron subsidiary, is one of the nation’s largest installers of solar energy systems for education institutions. Over the past decade, the company has developed hundreds of projects involving energy efficiency and renewable power for education, government and business customers in the United States.
- Livermore, California – In 2013, CES collaborated with the city of Livermore to launch a sustainability program that combines energy, environmental and financial stewardship; business incubation; job creation; and student engagement. The program is expected to save the city’s taxpayers more than $10 million over its life, without up-front capital outlay.
- Patterson, California – CES and the city of Patterson started a solar and energy efficiency project in 2013 that is expected to save the community $6.5 million and reduce its utility electricity expenditures by 90 percent.
- Hartnell College, California – CES designed and engineered a solar energy project at Hartnell College that is expected to reduce the amount of electricity purchased for use at its Alisal campus by more than 90 percent, saving the Salinas, California, community college more than $6 million. The installation also serves as a living laboratory and is integrated into the college’s sustainability, science, engineering, technology and math curricula.
At Chevron’s global headquarters in San Ramon, California, CES installed a solar demonstration project designed to test current and emerging solar technologies for facility project planning and potential use at Chevron facilities.
Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) is a division of Chevron that identifies, evaluates and demonstrates emerging technologies. As solar technology advances, CTV is studying the latest methods.
- CTV is running a unique demonstration project to test the viability of using solar energy to enhance oil production. The Coalinga, California, project uses more than 7,600 mirrors to focus the sun’s energy onto a solar boiler. The steam it generates is injected into oil reservoirs to increase production. The project is the largest of its kind in the world.
- CTV operates a 1-megawatt concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar facility at our molybdenum mine in Questa, New Mexico. Approximately 175 solar panels are installed on 20 acres (.08 sq km), making it one of the largest CPV installations in the United States.
Updated: May 2014