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United States

Hybrid renewable energy system at Solar Living Centre


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A hybrid renewable energy system that is the sole source of electricity at the new Solar Living Centre in inland California is so successful, more wind turbines may be added, says owner Real Goods Trading Corp. The 3 kW wind turbine, a Whisper 3000 by World Power Technology, spins atop an 80 foot tower alongside a 10 kW PV panel. As many as 10,000 people attended the centre's grand opening in June, which was addressed by environment activist Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute. The 12-acre site and retail shop in Hopland, right by the busy Highway 101, is powered entirely by the renewable energy system, says manager Mark Winkler. He notes how much exposure the centre may give renewables, as several million people drive past on the freeway every year. Excess power during the day is sold to the utility. The company, based in nearby Ukiah, offers twice-daily tours of the Solar Living Centre. Sales for its renewable energy division for the first quarter were $2.13 million compared with $0.26 million a year ago. That included a one-time $1.8 million sale in Belize of PV equipment for a tourist resort. Real Goods says it intends to continue pursuing this "eco-tourism" market for renewable energy systems.

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