Back before solar was a multi-billion dollar global industry, there was a small group of pioneers dedicating their lives to transforming the world through the use of a relatively new technology. Spectrum’s VP of Engineering, Dave Collier led the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) engineering team in what was to become the largest PV installation in the world, the 1 Mega Watt PV1 project.
The PV1 plant was comprised of 896 solar panels manufactured in California by ARCO Solar, which is now SolarWorld. The 10-acre plant has generated about 37 gigawatt hours of electricity since it opened, or enough to offset millions of pounds of environmentally harmful emissions — including 19 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 16,500 pounds of nitrogen oxide and 5,900 pounds of sulfur dioxide, according to SMUD. PV1 supplied about 800 homes with electricity when it began producing power in 1984.
PV1 operated continuously for 27 years, and only experienced about a 1% output degredation per year over the life of the system. Due to the PV1 success, the Rancho Seco site will now be home to a 10.8 MW system to be installed later in 2016.