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Concentrating Solar Power

For five years now, a Tulip concentrating solar power plant has been operating at a kibbutz in Israel. In January 2012, a second one sprouted in Spain. While both plants have been successfully pumping out electricity ever since, they were also both built as research and development exercises. Soon, however, the world's first commercial Tulip plant will be built for a paying client, in Ethiopia. Read More
After three years of construction, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) is now operational. The 392 MW plant, funded by NRG, Google, and BrightSource Energy, is expected to generate enough electricity to power 140,000 homes, each year. NRG announced last week that each of the plant's three units is now supplying electricity to California’s grid. Read More
The Southern California Gas Company, the largest natural gas distribution company in the U.S., has become the first utility in that country to test Cogenra’s solar cogeneration solution for cooling purposes. The system will provide air conditioning for SoCalGas’s Energy Resource Center (ERC). Until now, the technology has been mainly applied to solar hot water, space heating and electricity. Read More
A giant flower has recently sprung up near the southern Spanish city of Almeria. Measuring 35 meters (115 feet) high, the Tulip is the product of Israeli company AORA, and it uses heat from the sun to generate electricity. Work began on the hybrid concentrating solar power technology back in the 80s and the first Tulip pilot plant was installed at Israel’s Kibbutz Samar in 2009. That setup has been pumping electricity into the country’s power grid every year since. The Spanish plant was completed this January. Read More
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants, such as the Gemsolar and PS10 plants in Spain, use arrays of mirrors (or heliostats) to focus a large area of the Sun's rays onto a small area, where the concentrated light is converted to heat that is used to generate electricity. While CSP has gained popularity in recent years with numerous plants being built around the world, they require a large area to generate the amounts of electricity needed to make them economically viable. Taking inspiration from the sunflower, researchers have devised a more efficient design that would allow such plants to be constructed on a much smaller area. Read More
Google has chipped in a US$168 million investment in what will be the world's largest solar power tower plant. To be located on 3,600 acres of land in the Mojave Desert in southeastern California, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) will boast 173,000 heliostats that will concentrate the sun's rays onto a solar tower standing approximately 450 feet (137 m) tall. The plant commenced construction in October 2010 and is expected to generate 392 MW of solar energy following its projected completion in 2013. Read More
Laying claim to “what will be the world’s largest solar power plant” is difficult these days with so many in development, but the Texas-based Fluor corporation is drawing up plans for a five gigawatt (GW) plant in South Africa that would certainly make it amongst the world’s largest. The company has been selected to perform a feasibility study for the potential solar park to be built on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa – an area the South African government says is among the sunniest three percent of regions in the world. Read More
The race to build the world’s largest solar power plant continues with Arizona Public Service and Starwood Energy Group Global LLC unveiling plans for a 290-megawatt concentrating solar plant in the Harquahala Valley, 75 miles west of Phoenix. As one of the largest solar plants in the world Starwood Solar I will produce enough electricity to power more than 73,000 homes and is scheduled for completion by 2013. Read More
Made up of more than 1200 mirrored heliostats surrounding a huge 54 story high tower, the world's largest solar power tower plant is now on-line near Seville in Spain. Developed by Spanish engineering company Abengoa, the PS20 plant generates 20 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply 10,000 homes. Concentrating solar thermal technology has been used in desert areas in Spain and the southwest U.S. for decades and is seeing a resurgence as utilities seek to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Read More