19 July 2007

Solar NV!

Finally I was able to attend a Solar NV meeting...I was so stoked. As many of you know, I'd been waiting to go for over a year, but my work schedule and conflict with classes made it impossible. Sadly, fifth year classes are now on Wednesdays so I'll not be able to attend for the majority of the next year. But anyway...it was good to show up already knowing some people, at least.

The guest speaker was a representative of Nevada Solar One, a solar power plant outside of Boulder City, Nevada, which is south of Las Vegas. This is an immense undertaking and very exciting for the solar community. Therefore out of sheer curiosity I did some Web-research, and found this:

"Nevada Solar One is the third largest solar power plant in the world, generating 64MW, as of June 2007. Nevada Solar One is in Boulder City, Nevada and has been built by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Solargenix Energy. Spanish conglomerate Acciona purchased a 55% stake in Solargenix, and as a result, now owns 100% of the Nevada Solar One thermal project. Nevada Solar One is unrelated to Solar One, aside from having a similar name.

"Nevada Solar One uses parabolic troughs as thermal solar concentrators, heating tubes of liquid (solar receivers), instead of the power tower concentrator (as Solar One used). These solar receivers are specially coated tubes made of glass and steel which were designed and produced by Solel Solar Systems as well as by Schott Glass. About 19,300 of these four meter long tubes are used in the newly built power plant. Nevada Solar One also uses a technology that collects extra heat by putting it into phase-changing molten salts. This energy can then be drawn on at night.

"Solar thermal power plants designed for solar-only generation are ideally matched to summer noon peak loads in prosperous areas with significant cooling demands, such as the southwestern United States. Using thermal energy storage systems, solar thermal operating periods can even be extended to meet base load needs. Given Nevada's land and sun resources the state has the ability to produce more than 600GW using solar thermal concentrators like those used by Nevada Solar One.

"Parabolic concentrators have been successfully operating in California commercially since 1984, including the largest solar power plant of any kind, the 350 MW plant Solar Energy Generating Systems. Other parabolic trough power plants being proposed are two 50MW plants in Spain (see Solar power in Spain), and a 100MW plant in Israel."

Read the rest of the article here, and about Nevada Solar One's parent company, Acciona, here. (Acciona's site is Spanish only; sorry.)

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