Friday, May 20, 2011

24 Hour Solar Energy Plant Backed by US Guarantee

The US Department of Energy is providing a conditional $737 million loan guarantee to support a 110 megawatt concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in Nevada that will be capable of providucing round-the-clock electricity, even at night.

The CSP plant will use mirrors to heat molten salt to approximately 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit, which will heat up water to power a traditional steam turbine. The molten salt stays hot for up to 10 hours, allowing the plant to continue to produce power even after the sun has set.

The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project will be the tallest molten salt tower in the world. SolarReserve, the project proponent, expects the plant to create 600 construction jobs and 45 operations jobs. The plant is expected to produce 500,000 megawatt hours per year, enough to power more than 43,000 homes.

John Howley
Woodbridge, New Jersey

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