Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


Tecate Mission International, a well-known outreach ministry on the U.S. side of the Tecate border crossing, will celebrate the installation of an energy-saving array of nine racks of sun-tracking solar panels with a “Solar Energy Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony” at 3 p.m. on June 3. Dignitaries from both sides of the border are expected to attend, along with officials of rural fire departments and local business leaders. The public is invited to the event, which will feature music and refreshments. Representatives of AET Solar will be on hand to explain how the system works and answer questions on how solar systems can reduce monthly utility bills.


“Compared to fixed mounting systems, these tracking systems are able to follow the sun throughout the day, turning the panels from east to west, and providing as much as 30% more savings than fixed arrays,” said Bob Carson, president of AET Solar of Santee, which installed the system.


The sun's heat moves liquid from side to side, allowing gravity to turn the Track Rack™ and follow the sun. “No motors, no gears and no controls to fail,” Carson emphasized.


Dan Bender, director of ministry development at the Tecate Mission, offers this invitation: “We’ve been a proud part of this community since 1962, so come help us celebrate as we publicly declare the value of stewardship by conserving the resources that God has given us.”


A total of 108 panels are mounted on the nine racks. Three solar trackers with 36 panels are installed near the upper campus just off Highway 188 that links Highway 94 to the Tecate border crossing. Six trackers with 72 panels are installed on a lower parcel just yards away from the international border.


The panels are produced by SunPower Corp., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar panels. The tracking system structure is manufactured by Zomeworks Corp. of Albuquerque, NM. AET Solar, a premier dealer in San Diego County for SunPower products, installed the system at Tecate.

The arrays are mounted on 18-foot long masts, six feet into the ground and 12 feet above ground. The arrays are installed at the top of the masts and are 12 feet tall, making the top of the array 18 feet off the ground.


Although the state of California has not set up a system to rate sun-trackers, SDG&E has estimated the sun-tracking system at the Tecate Mission will generate 30% more energy than would flat fixed panels, according to Kim Carson, AET Solar general manager and son of the owner.

He calculates the total output of the nine arrays will generate a minimum of 154 kilowatts of power per day.


“It is a 28 kilowatt system, and based on an standard rating system average of 5.5 sun hours a day, the yield is 154 kilowatts,” he said. “Of course, we are positive the Tecate Mission arrays will beat that substantially by being exposed to an average of 8 to 10 hours of sun a day.”


In just the first 23 days of operation, the system has generated 5,416 kilowatt hours. “This kind of output should provide a 100-percent offset and completely abate the mission’s electical bill,” Carson said.


“We feel good about this project,” he added. “The mission is putting the money their donors have contributed to use that will pay long-term dividends. It’s good stewardship.”


Tecate Mission International is located at 23945 Tecate Mission Road in Tecate, California. Facilities include Tecate Christian School and mission offices.


For more information about Tecate Mission, go to www.tecatemission.org

For more information about AET Solar, go to www.AETsunpower.com

For more information about SunPower, go www.sunpower.com


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.