Energy-efficient building incorporates LEED guidelines and includes 160 kW Mitsubishi Electric solar power system installed by HelioPower and owned by San Diego Gas & Electric
Sony Electronics Inc. will bring employees, government officials, community members, building partners and representatives of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics, Inc. and HelioPower together today to celebrate the opening of their new 455,000 square foot “green” headquarters in San Diego.
The building, constructed in a two years, was built with an emphasis on employee comfort and energy
efficiency. A 160-kilowatt (kW) DC Mitsubishi Electric panel solar power system was collaborated under the SDG&E Sustainable Communities Program was installed by California-based solar integration company, HelioPower. The solar power system was installed on the employee parking structure, utilizing an innovative and attractive design which averted the need for space allocation for a large central inverter.
The Sony Electronics building will house 1,400 of the company’s 2,000 area employees. It was designed to exemplify the best in energy conservation technologies. Energy saving strategies include the solar power system on the parking structure, energy-efficient air conditioning and heating and the use of recycled materials in the carpeting and furniture. Drought-resistant landscaping was also used and all the construction debris was recycled. The building’s design and construction process incorporated many environmental features according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification requirements.
“Sony is committed to reducing our impact on the environment,” said Greg Aveni, facilities director for Sony Electronics. “We are doing this by implementing methods to reduce energy-use, such as installing solar panels for our new San Diego building and waste from our day-to-day operations, while at the same time finding ways to develop more energy-efficient products.”
The Sony Electronics project is one of many San Diego-based energy-efficient projects on which SDG&E has collaborated. The utility supports energy- efficient and sustainable programs for commercial construction, and provides cash incentives and technical assistance to builders wanting to build energy-efficient buildings. In addition, SDG&E works with these builders to develop utility-owned solar panels for their projects that provide this renewable, solar energy back to the local community.
“Sony Electronics’ forward-thinking approach to energy efficiency and renewable energy in their daily business practices is something their employees and our community can be proud of,” said Alex Kim, director of customer innovations for SDG&E.
The 160kW DC installation consists of 867 Mitsubishi Electric 185-watt photovoltaic (PV) modules and is expected to produce 230,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. In addition to the clean energy created by the solar panels, Mitsubishi Electric’s eco-friendly modules use 100-percent lead-free solder and are manufactured according to strict environmental standards.
“We’re proud to be a part of Sony Electronics’ new headquarters building and commend them for designing an innovative and low-impact facility for their employees. This is an excellent example of a building that can gain immediate benefits from solar power,” said Gina Heng, general manager of Mitsubishi Electric’s photovoltaic division.
Designing and building the PV system on the Sony Electronics’ structure was a yearlong engineering project that involved electrical, structural and utility engineers. By working closely with all relevant parties, solar power system installer, HelioPower, was able to design a system that met Sony Electronics’ needs and SDG&E’s requirements for an aesthetic, highly productive and safe PV system. One of the innovations was to meet the requirements for a covered parking structure with the solar power system installation. HelioPower was also able to integrate the 160 kW DC array with 21 field-distributed SMA inverters; eliminating the need for a large central unit for which space was not available.
“Connecting the output of a PV power plant to the utility side of the meter is a complex process. Rigorous utility interconnection standards must be followed as a separately derived service entrance is our point of connection to the SDG&E electrical grid,” explained Jonah Liebes, vice president of operations for HelioPower. “Unlike many installations, this is not a ‘Net Metered’ solar system. As such, the energy from the solar system by-passes the Sony Electronic meter and is funneled directly into the utility grid and distributed locally. Sony and their neighbors will certainly use the renewable energy collected by the system, but indirectly via the SDG&E grid.”
The Sony Electronics building is located at 16530 Via Esprillo, San Diego, CA 92127.