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On the Sunny Side Solar Summit held in Sweetwater, Texas

On the Sunny Side: Solar Summit held in Sweetwater, Texas

Story by Jaime Tankersley

The future was bright in Sweetwater, Texas on April 20-21st. Texas State Technical College was home of the 2010 Lone Star Solar Summit. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was part of the two day summit that brought in over 35 attendants to learn from peers within the solar sector. Greg Wortham, Texas Wind Energy Clearinghouse representative welcomed everyone and explained what the agenda held for the next 48 hours.

Nevada is key player in the solar power industry, but Texas is growing at a rapid speed and is projected to be in the same playing field in years to come. This networking venture allowed participants a chance to learn about design, construction, operations, economics, training and other means in solar project operations.

Sweetwater is one of the largest wind turbine areas in the state, so it is only fair that another form of conservative energy initiatives be put on the grid.

This summit also allowed participants to learn about the upcoming plans for downtown Sweetwater. Jyl DeHaven, with Prism 3 Solutions LLC, discussed the pending rehabilitation of the Doscher Building in the downtown region of Sweetwater. The idea is for the building to produce more energy than it consumes. This project will take the 1928 office building under construction and convert it into an upscale residential, dining and conference setting. Upon conclusion of the renovations the building will showcase an appropriate use of solar, wind and geothermal energy.

The Lone Star Solar Summit concluded with a California case study of the Delegate Chief Building Official (CBO) program. The study highlights a 400 MW Ivanpah concentrated solar energy center. Results included global sourcing of solar energy system components, a comparative analysis of wind energy and solar energy construction, operations and management issues.

Event sponsors included the NRCS, Big Country Resource Conservation & Development, New Amsterdam Wind Source, LLC, Texas Wind Energy Clearinghouse and the Southwest Energy Coalition.