A new solar power system installed by Horizon Solar Power and Ice Energy is storing energy produced by the sun in ice to cool the Palm Springs Cultural Center in California. The system produces ice for the center’s HVAC system during off-peak hours then uses it to cool the building during peak hours when electricity is more expensive.
"The Cultural Center's greatest energy load comes from turning on the AC in late afternoons and early evenings for community events," said Claude McGee, Horizon Solar Power director of business development. "The clean energy created by our solar PV system, combined with the flexible storage and cooling solution provided by the Ice Bears, reduces both the Center's energy bill and the community's carbon footprint. We look forward to working with Ice Energy on more projects like this across California and the rest of the U.S."
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The system replaces the cultural center’s heating and cooling system, which failed in 2015. The new system was made possible through California's Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and financed through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). Together the two programs allowed the center to install the 73.6 kilowatt solar panel and the five Ice Bear 30 units with minimal up-front investments. The Ice Bears can provide up to four hours of cooling using a fraction of the electricity normally needed for cooling with conventional air conditioning, according to Ice Bears.
"We're witnessing a trend in which the incentives for solar power export are decreasing, so businesses and homeowners are looking for new ways to maximize their investments in solar PV," said Mike Hopkins, Ice Energy CEO. "A well-designed solar-plus-ice-storage system like this one can provide efficient cooling comfort, optimize the use of solar over-generation, and help utilities to flatten their load on a grid-wide scale."
Ice Energy has a number of contracts to deliver a total its Ice Bears cooling systems. That includes 25.6 megawatts of storage to NRG Energy and Southern California Edison, as well as 5 MWs in Riverside, CA and 6 MWs in Redding, CA. It also has an additional 450 MWs in the sales pipeline.
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