Big Solar For Tiny Delaware At Dover SUN Park

Delaware may be one of the smallest states in the country, but that hasn’t stopped it from going big when it comes to renewable energy (including offshore wind). This month the state announced the commissioning of its largest community-scale solar power plant to date, the Dover SUN Park in Dover.

At 10 megawatts (MW), the 103-acre SUN Park is a huge step for Delaware, said Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Secretary Collin O’Mara, in an interview with Newsworks. “For a state like Delaware to have a project of this scale, it shows that the economics work and that the economic development piece of it works,” he said. “It’s really gonna have folks take notice in many of the other parts of the country.”

Delaware solar power, Dover SUN Park

image via U.S. Senator Tom Carper

The Dover SUN Park features 34,000 SunPower E20 panels affixed to tracking mounts. According to SunPower, the E20 panels are the “most efficient solar panels on the market today,” and the tracking mechanisms allow the array to follow the sun’s movement during the day, increasing its energy harvest by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt arrays.

The site was constructed over the course of six months by SunPower and White Oak Solar Energy, a subsidiary of LS Power Group. Power generated by the facility will be purchased by the city of Dover, Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, Delmarva Power and the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility. LS power estimates that Dover SUN Park will generate enough electricity to power more than 1,500 homes.

Delaware has committed to generating 25 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025, with a quarter of the state’s renewable energy expected to be generated using solar technology.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).