Suntech Solar Reliathon

Suntech Goes Utility-Scale With Reliathon

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted October 21, 2009

In an effort to expand into the U.S. utility-scale solar market, Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) is launching a new product called Reliathon, which integrates 270-watt solar panels with inverters and other components that can be used for large-scale solar arrays. 

According to the company, by using Reliathon, the overall savings for installing a system of at least 10 megawatts could come in at around 10 percent.  When you're talking about million-dollar projects, this is a pretty big deal.

Suntech says it plans to start shipping Reliathon in Q2, 2010.

Also in solar news, Mexican restaurant Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) has announced that it is partnering with Standard Renewable Energy to install solar panels on about 75 of its restaurants over the next year.  Once completed, the project will make Chipotle the largest direct producer of solar energy in the restaurant industry.

Here's what CEO Steve Ells had to say...

"Our effort to change the way people think about and eat fast food began with our commitment to serving food made with ingredients from more sustainable sources, and that same kind of thinking now influences all areas of our business.  Today we're following a similar path in the way we design and build restaurants, looking for more environmentally friendly building materials and systems that make our restaurants more efficient."

Beyond this recent announcement, Chipotle was already the first restaurant to receive LEED Platinum certification - which is the highest level of "green" certification by the U.S. Green Building Council - for its Gurnee, Ill location.  And all of Chipotle's new restaurants do include some environmentally friendly materials, including low VOC paints, recycled drywall and stainless steel, and low-E window glass that helps reduce heating and cooling needs.

Chipotle's been a leader in the pursuit of more sustainable building options as an extension of its philosophy which is called "Food with Integrity."  The idea being that the company seeks ingredients from more sustainable sources.  This has led to Chipotle being the leader in providing more naturally raised meat (from animals raised in a humane way, never given antibiotics or added hormones, and fed a pure vegetarian diet) than any other restaurant company.  The company also serves organic and locally-grown produce, and cheese and sour cream made with milk from cows that are never given the synthetic hormone rBGH.

jeff signature

Jeff