Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Solar Power Inc. installs PV array on movie studio
Chris Meehan

Feb 28, 2011

The spotlight shining on actors shooting movies at Twentieth Century Fox Film’s historic Building 99 is powered by the sun thanks to a new photovoltaic array on its roof. On Feb. 22 Solar Power, Inc. (OTCBB: SOPW) said it completed the installation of a 160-kilowatt photovoltaic array.

It’s just the latest effort of parent company, New Corp.’s (NASDAQ: NWS), larger sustainability campaign dubbed the Global Energy Initiative.

Solar Power Inc. installed the system using its SkyMount racking system. The racking system is unique in that it’s adaptable to various rooftops with minimal rooftop penetration. And it was able to conform to the barrel-shaped roof of the building, according to a Solar Power case study of the system.

The Twentieth Century Fox Film solar installation was designed to provide power for onsite use.

“It’s behind the meter, used to power onsite needs and reduce the amount of electricity they get off the meter,” said Solar Power, Inc. Vice President of Marketing Mike Anderson. He wasn’t sure what percentage of power consumed at the Fox Film site would come from the array. “I can tell you it’s not offsetting all their power, just a portion.”

At present, this is the only project that Solar Power has with the film studio’s parent company News Corp. But it’s not the only sustainability project that News Corp. has underway through its Global Energy Initiative projects. It’s also installing a 4.1-megawatt photovoltaic array at its 2,000 employee Dow Jones headquarters in South Brunswick, N.J.

When completed, the Dow Jones array will provide 50 percent of the facility’s electric needs during peak-sunlight hours. In December, 2.5 megawatts, 60 percent, of that installation was completed, powered on and connected to the grid, News Corp. said.

The phase was also completed four months ahead of schedule.

Under News Corp.’s Global Energy Initiative, the company has been reducing its carbon footprint and energy use. In 2010, the company purchased 642,765 metric tons of carbon dioxide offsets.

“Enough to cover our entire fiscal year 2010 carbon footprint,” the company said.

The offsets included such diverse things as investments in landfill gas collection, wind farms and biomass projects. Its efforts were enough to earn the media conglomerate the second highest rating among S&P 500 companies in the 2010 Carbon Disclosure Report.

Solar Power has another potential array in the works with another studio, Anderson said.

“We are looking at other major motion picture studios that are looking to mitigate energy cost and those that are looking to grow their sustainability initiatives,” he said. “Solar generation becomes something they tend to look at pretty quickly. It makes economic sense and environmental sense.”