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
At Chevron’s global headquarters in San Ramon, California, a solar demonstration project tests current and emerging solar technologies for facility project planning and potential use at Chevron facilities.
Chevron 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. This demonstration project is the largest of its kind in the world.
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 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: August 2014