Similar tower in Seville, Spain
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating system, a project proposed by BrightSource of Oakland in 2007 and expected to begin construction in 2009 has finally got the go-ahead to be built, with a completion date of 2013.
The project is a boon for solar power tower projects in the US; similar projects like the 10 MW Solar One and Solar Two heliostat demonstration projects in the Mojave Desert have now been decommissioned.
However the new project will create 1100 jobs and should produce up to 370 megawatts of clean energy, according to Brightsources' website. The project will be located in San Bernardino Country, and once completed will be the largest solar-energy project on US public soil to use the power tower.
The Power Tower
According to Brightsource, the proposed project includes "three solar concentrating thermal power plants, based on distributed power tower and heliostat mirror technology, in which heliostat (mirror) fields focus solar energy on power tower receivers near the center of each heliostat array."
In other words, mirrors concentrate heat into water contained within a tower, which releases enough steam to cause a turbine to turn, generating electricity. The mirrors track the sun, meaning they have a sun-tracking control system that is able to calibrate heliostats and monitor the performance of each heliostat within the field. This enables the tower to receive the maximum amount of direct sunlight, which generates more heat, more steam and consequently greater oscillation of the turbine, which creates more electricity.
The site at San Bernardino Country will need to be large, with each 100-MW site requiring approximately 850-acres (or 1.3 square miles). The 200-MW site would require approximately 1,600-acres (or 2.5 square miles) and would have four tower receivers and arrays.
To house the Power Towers and the operation and administration buildings would require an area in the region of 3,400-acres (or 5.3 square miles).
Solar Sail, Enough Renewable Energy for Earth's Population? | Dow's solar shingles: Solar panels 2.0? | Walmart to install ultra thin solar panels to more stores | Letting the light shine on solar power
Like this article? Get the RSS feed: