Fluor built ARCO’s photovoltaic power plant in less than six months. The first phase of the 16-MWe solar field produced five megawatts of electric power. Because the power plant was being constructed less than five miles from the San Andreas Fault, a dynamic seismic analysis was performed for plant structures using the design response spectra with base accelerations of 0.5g. The unusual tracker configuration was dimensionally modeled and subjected to wind tunnel tests to accurately determine its susceptibility to wind-induced aero-elastic instabilities such as divergence, vortex shedding, buffeting, and flutter. The data gathered was used in the final tracker array structural review.
The DC power produced from each of the 756 two-axis trackers is fed to an inverter for conversion to alternating current. The inverter output then is stepped sequentially to 12 kV and then to 115 kV for intertie with the Pacific Gas and Electric Utility system.