Arizona green retirement community La Posada is next to get Cogenra’s combined heat and power
Cogenra was founded by Dr. Gilad Almogy, with a BSC in Physics and Mathematics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, and the inventor of over 30 registered US patents. Before founding Cogenra, which Vinod Khosla also had a hand in creating, Almogy was a senior VP of the Display and Thin Film Solar Products at Applied Materials (AMAT).
His innovative solar cogeneration (making heat and electricity from solar power) succeeds in bringing solar power costs down to the level of fossil fuels – but without those catastrophic health and climatic side effects!
Because it simultaneously eliminates both traditional electricity from a utility, and the gas used to heat water, it eliminates greenhouse gas emissions at nearly three times the rate of traditional PV and at twice the rate of solar hot water alone.
By producing both electricity and hot water, Cogenra’s unique hybrid solar system extracts five times the net energy, and at 80% efficiency; actually outdoes ZenithSolar, another solar cogeneration company born in Israel, and now making inroads overseas (72% Efficient ZenithSolar Gets Demo Down Under)
This week his company Cogenra will announce a contract to supply the Southern Arizona retirement community La Posada with a solar cogeneration system, making it sustainable to host a retirement community in the arid desert. Formerly La Posada had high energy costs resulting from its position in the desert – and future energy uncertainty.
Arizona depends on nuclear power, but nuclear cannot take the heat that represents the climate future of Arizona. Dry spells and climate change have shut down nuclear plants around the world: rivers are running at record heat in the US, and nuclear is constrained to stop operating when the rivers they discharge to reach temperatures over 86 degrees. So nuclear power is unsustainable in a hotter future.
Because solar eliminates the ongoing expenses for increasingly unpredictable and unknown energy costs in Arizona, any solar displacement of electricity bills is ideal for its retirees, who need to live a long life on a fixed income. Buying solar upfront takes energy out of the cost equation, bringing real security to seniors.
Cogenra also offers a contract-for-energy-produced option, where a company would just pay for power by the hour. That is through Cogenra’s Heat & Power Purchase Agreement (HPPA) which provides predictable long-term energy costs without upfront expense, debt or ongoing maintenance exposure. The company is confident enough that their technology delivers at the cost advertised that they are willing to back it themselves by selling the power it produces at a fixed rate.
How it works:
A long narrow array of solar photovoltaic cells face downwards towards the reflected and highly focused sunshine bounced up by the mirrors. Above the solar array is the tube that carries the liquid being heated by the same intense focused sunlight. It removes the heat for use in solar hot water.
As with PVT’s Echo, the hybrid solar co-generation technology also solves a problem with solar PV: that it is somewhat less efficient when it is too hot. Solar electricity can be more efficient in Minnesota on a snowy day than in Arizona during a heat wave, because solar panels produce more power when they are not overheated.
The liquid is constantly removing the heat built up behind the solar panels, siphoning off heat so that the panels produce at their optimum. Nevertheless, the heat production versus the solar electricity production is about four to one: making these ideal for businesses like large industrial food processors, hotels, laundromats and restaurants: that need to make four times more hot water or heat than electricity.
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