From news.cnet.com – the concentrated solar thermal technology is growing and spreading. This one is substantially larger than the groundbreaking Gemasolar plant in Spain.
Solar tower will power Las Vegas at night
SolarReserve has completed the central point of a solar project that uses molten salt storage to deliver power to the grid well after the sun has gone down.
The startup company today said it has completed the 540-foot tower of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, Nev., which is expected to start delivering 110 megawatts by the end of 2013. When it comes online, it’s projected to have 10 hours of storage, the longest full-load storage capacity for a solar plant.
Adding storage turns solar into a continuous power source and allows project developers to earn more money for their electricity. As a result, solar projects that use heat to make electricity have added molten salt storage to their facilities.
SolarReserve’s technology is different than traditional molten salt storage systems in that all electricity is generated from storage and there is only one working fluid–salt, heated to about 1,000 degrees.
In the summer, the Crescent Dunes project’s general contractor intends to start installing a field of 10,000 billboard-size sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats around the tower. Sunlight is reflected onto a 100-foot receiver which house a series of tubes of circulating salt. The heliostat field will be about two miles across.
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