1-plus megawatt on 31/2 acres would be North Bay's largestSANTA ROSA – JDS Uniphase has filed plans with the city of Santa Rosa to build a three-and-a-half-acre solar installation on land it owns on Thunderbolt Way in Santa Rosa's Northpoint Corporate Center.

When completed, the one-plus megawatt system will be the largest solar array in the North Bay.

The cutting edge installation, incorporating a sun tracking system and a solar cell under development at JDSU, will provide heat, air conditioning and electricity to adjacent Building C on the Santa Rosa JDSU campus.

Milpitas-based JDSU provides optical and test and measurement solutions for the communications industry. It acquired its Santa Rosa operation, formerly Optical Coating Laboratory Inc.,  in 2002.

The facility manufactures color shifting pigments used in currency and products for the defense and aerospace industry in several buildings on Mariner Way and Northpoint Parkway in Santa Rosa. About 530 are employed there.

JDSU declined to comment on the project, which is being directed by JDSU Global Energy Manager Robert Ule.

Menova Energy Inc. of Ontario, Canada is co-designing the installation, an advanced version of its PowerSpar solar concentrator and tracking system.

"It's the fourth version of our technology," said Menova President and CEO David Gerwing. "It'll be a showcase for both our and JDSU's products."

He expects the redesigned photovoltaic system to obtain much higher yields of energy than previous arrays designed by his company.

The installation will be slightly larger than the one megawatt carport solar system at Agilent Technologies' Santa Rosa campus, which covers three acres and is currently the largest solar array in the North Bay. The next largest is another one megawatt installation at Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park. That system cost $7.5 million to build.

Most of the parabolic structure at  1408 Thunderbolt Way will stand about nine feet tall, although the request allows for a height of 24 feet.

Santa Rosa planner Lori McNab said the process of planning approval and design review is in the very earliest stages.

According to the filing, installation will be done by a Santa Monica agent for Martifer Solar, a multinational solar systems installer headquartered in Portugal. Local architect Georgia Stubbs is listed as the provider of drawings for the submission.