SolarTAC Plugs into the Sun with Grand Opening

Jun 17, 2011 12:40 PM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) June 8, 2011 - Aurora, Colo. – Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and dignitaries from state, local, and national government will find out what’s ‘plugged into the sun’ as SolarTAC membership hosts its grand opening celebration on June 7 for invited guests. 

SolarTAC –the Solar Technology Acceleration Center-- membership is comprised of Xcel Energy, Abengoa Solar, SunEdison, The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, Amonix, and EPRI --six public and private sector entities dedicated to advancing the commercialization of solar technology.    "Companies from all over the world are doing research at SolarTAC, and the original site is bursting at the seams. This research will lead to changing the way we power this nation and will produce breakthrough technology and products that will more quickly enter the marketplace. SolarTAC, Colorado's abundant sun, and world-class research institutions continue to attract clean tech companies creating jobs and growing our economy," stated U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter.   “SolarTAC will allow companies to test products for efficiency and durability. It will get ideas from the laboratory to consumer’s hands faster,” said Governor John Hickenlooper, who will be on hand for the event. “We’re fortunate to have this national resource in our backyard, helping to keep Colorado's economy moving forward.”   Held at the 74-acre SolarTAC site and emceed by Aurora Mayor, The Honorable Ed Tauer, the event will include special remarks by Dick Kelly, chairman and CEO, Xcel Energy; Dustin T. Smith, executive director of SolarTAC; and Tom Sack, Ph.D., senior vice president and director of technical operations, MRIGlobal.    “When we broke ground for this facility in October 2009, it was our vision to see the development of a world-class solar testing and demonstration center that would bring together technology providers and users, research institutions and government agencies, said Dick Kelly, chairman and CEO, Xcel Energy. “The Solar Technology Acceleration Center certainly is all of that – it has made us partners in developing new and more advanced solar technologies. It is helping Xcel Energy to create a clean energy future for our customers at a reasonable cost.”    After the formal events, representatives from SolarTAC membership will guide guests to presentations and tours. Members of the media will be escorted for video/photography and photographic DVDs will be available to all who attend the event.    “This is a celebration of the most advanced utility scale and commercial solar energy systems in the world. At SolarTAC, we celebrate what has been accomplished and rally together toward what we as a group can accomplish in the future,” says Dustin T. Smith, executive director of SolarTAC. He adds, “This celebration is only a milestone. We have room for more research acceleration and collaboration. SolarTAC’s business concept allows members to sponsor a wide range of research projects, from research that is completely proprietary to research that is shared between members to research that is available to the public.” SolarTAC is also open to research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and by the national labs like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) located in Golden, Colo.   Additional comments from SolarTAC membership include:   From Abengoa Solar’s Henry W. Price, vice president of technology: "SolarTAC is an important part of Abengoa's U.S. development approach to new technologies. The facilities and infrastructure at the site allow us to test, then demonstrate key components under development. New technology development is critical for Abengoa to deploy large-scale plants, such as Solana in Arizona, and industrial solar installations, such as the Englewood Correctional Facility. SolarTAC provides a mechanism to advance solar technology deployments and an environment for collaboration among industry, academic, and public laboratories."   From NREL’s Deputy Lab Director for Science & Technology Dana Christensen: “The Alliance for Sustainable Energy is excited to see the SolarTAC vision come to life. This collaboration provides a unique opportunity for evaluation of solar technology performance under real-world conditions and contributes to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's critical role in developing and testing the next generation of solar energy technologies together with its integration onto the electric grid.”   From Amonix CEO, Brian Robertson: “We are pleased to be part of SolarTAC to showcase our proven CPV technology in partnership with Xcel energy. CPV solar is the best choice in sunny and dry climates because of its compelling bottom lines. These include the highest efficiency of any solar technology, low levelized cost of energy and the fact that CPV uses no water in the production of energy.”   About SolarTAC SolarTAC is a world-class test facility where the solar industry can test, validate and demonstrate near-market and advanced solar technologies. The SolarTAC mission is to provide a location where members of the solar industry can do research to increase the efficiency of solar products and rapidly deploy them to the commercial market. Situated on a 74-acre site in Aurora, Colorado and near the Denver International Airport, the SolarTAC site offers a neutral research and testing environment, and 300 days of sunshine a year in one of the most progressive renewable energy states in the country. Additional acreage is readily available for future expansion. Managed and operated by MRIGlobal (formerly Midwest Research Institute), SolarTAC originated when public and private sector entities joined forces to establish a site where member companies can bring their advanced or near-commercial stage solar technologies for testing, research and demonstration under actual field conditions.    Current membership includes: Membership includes Xcel Energy, Abengoa Solar, SunEdison, Amonix, Alliance for Sustainable Energy, EPRI. For more information, visit   XCEL14413