Gallery: Chevron Embraces Solar Technology With Project Brightfield


Sign #1 that interest in solar power is exploding: even the oil companies are getting in on the act. Earlier this week, Chevron unveiled Project Brightfield, a solar plant featuring 7,700 solar panels on 18 acres of an old refinery site in Bakersfield, CA. The 740 kilowatt plant will power Chevron oil operations, and excess power will go to the grid. But there’s a bigger plan behind the project — Chevron is hunting for the best next-generation solar technology.

Chevron collected information on 180 solar companies, slashed the list to 19 and finally decided on 7 finalists to be used at Project Brightfield. The winners–Abound Solar, MiaSolé, Schüco, Solar Frontier, Sharp; and Solibro — will have their panels tested for three years. At the end, Chevron will decide which companies have panels that are worthy of being installed either by Chevron Energy Solutions for commercial customers or by the company for use at oil facilities.

So does this mean that Chevron will be responsible for choosing the next generation of solar power startups? Maybe not entirely, but if the company can hone in on efficient, low-cost solar solutions, we will all benefit.

+ Chevron

Via Green Inc.


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  1. Solar Panel Maiac March 23, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I always thought that all oil companies will jump on the bandwagon of renewables. BP and Shell have been the first to start in actually making their own technology and own brands of solar panels (photovoltaic modules). A couple of years ago Exxon Mobile were heard saying that any investment in (specifically solar I think) solar does not make sense to them financially and will wait for conditions to improve for that. I personally think that because of the specific expertise oil companies have in energy and dealing with regulations and model of funding and financing (also getting grants, large industrial projects) in that sector they can have an advantage to new purely solar technology companies. Also they can leverage the technology by co-generation – exactly what we are seeing discussed in the article above.
    What do you guys think about this consolidated database that includes all commercially available solar panels?:

  2. Michael Janzen March 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Nice to see a major oil company getting into renewables.

    I personally prefer to move away from reliance on energy companies all together, but nice to know they are prepping to keep the lights on when the next energy crisis hits.

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