Facebook fitness center gets solar cogeneration workout

Project to outfit part of new corporate campus with Cogenera's integrated photovoltaic and thermal technology is first in anticipated series of renewable energy investments.

Continuing its new practice of being more forthcoming about its energy usage profile, Facebook has disclosed that it will use a solar cogeneration system from Cogenra Solar to provide hot water and electricity at its new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

The system will specifically feed hot water and power to the 10,163-square-foot fitness center at the site, which is scheduled to be completed in December. It will support hot water for the showers, and power for the lighting and gym equipment.

The capacity of the system will be 60 kilowatts, displacing approximately 60 percent of the fitness facility's natural gas usage when it goes live as well as a small portion of its grid-fed electricity consumption. (The companies aren't saying how much, though.) There are 24 modules being installed in total.

The project represents Facebook's first renewable energy investment at the Menlo Park site, which is a 57-acre campus that used to be owned by Oracle, according to Facebook's director of global real estate, John Tenanes. Facebook has extensively renovated the site.

The Cogenera technology combines solar photovoltaic and solar thermal capablities into an integrated system. The company said that its modules can generate up to five times the energy as traditional systems, and twice the financial savings. Cogenera said its systems can offer a return on investment in about five years.

Said Cogenera CEO Gilad Almogy:

"While often overlooked compared to traditional electricity demands, corporate campuses and other community-based facilities all require large amounts of hot water on a daily basis. With Cogenera's unique combination, the hot water and electricity components complement one another, further optimizing energy output and returns."

Cogenera is also flexing its solar muscle at multi-unit real estates in Arizona and California.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com


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