Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Illinois Power Plant Installs Solar Panels

Over $900 million in upgrades at Coffeen Power Plant concluded this winter with the installation of solar panels that will be used to manage water systems at the plant's new landfill.

The landfill is used to store byproducts from burning coal used to generate electricity.

Ameren Energy Resources (AER) installed solar energy panels instead of spending up to $300,000 to connect to traditional power sources at three of its Illinois power plants: Coffeen, Duck Creek, and Newton. The solar panels include a battery back-up for cloudy and night time periods.

"The solar panels are relatively small but afforded us an opportunity to reduce installation costs and auxiliary power consumption, and to gain some experience that may help us use this technology in other future applications," AER Vice President Chris Iselin said.

Modern landfill sites require the collection, treatment or reuse of leachate, or water that comes in contact with wastes in a landfill. Typically, pumps are installed to control the draining leachate, but powering these pumps is difficult due to the landfills being thousands of yards away from the generating plants. Once pumped out of the landfill area, the leachate can either be sent to a treatment facility or returned to the landfill.

The solar panel work follows the installation of a range of state-of-the-art environmental controls completed in 2009 and 2010, including scrubbers that are reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 90 percent.

Both Newton and Coffeen plants have also installed solar-powered data collection systems for lake monitoring. These systems power sensors that monitor lake temperatures and radio systems that transmit temperature data back to the plants.


1 comment:

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