Solar Thermal Power is Hot! (Sorry, bad pun…)
Google is announcing a $168 million investment in Brightsource Energy‘s Ivanpah solar power plant in the Mojave desert in California. The solar farm will have a capacity of 392 MW. According to Google, that’s the equivalent of “taking more than 90,000 cars off the road over the lifetime of the plant, projected to be more than 25 years.”
Google has Invested $250 Million in Clean Energy So Far – Kudos!
The solar farm will use heliostat mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy onto a tower where the heat will generate steam that makes a turbine spin. “Power towers are very efficient because all those mirrors focus a tremendous amount of solar energy onto a small area to produce steam at high pressure and temperature (up to 1000 degrees F).”
The Ivanpah Power Tower will be approximately 450 feet tall and will use 173,000 heliostats, each with two mirrors. Construction began last fall and should end up 2013.
Part of Google’s motivation is to help the solar power sector reach maturity faster (the more you build, the faster you reach economies of scale):
We need smart capital to transform our energy sector and build a clean energy future. This is our largest investment to date, and we’ve now invested over $250 million in the clean energy sector. We’re excited about Ivanpah because our investment will help deploy a compelling solar energy technology that provides reliable clean energy, with the potential to significantly reduce costs on future projects (source)
This post was originally published by Treehugger.