Using mirrors to focus the sun's heat on one of any various heat-to-electricity converters seems to have separated itself out as being the cheapest form of solar power. A Spanish energy firm, Sener, and Abu Dhabi's clean energy initiative, Masdar, have teamed up to start working on at least two large solar thermal plants. They're hoping to generate at least 380 megawatts of power in the next five years, with a one-gigawatt goal for 10 years out. This would make the power generation (during the day) roughly equivalent with a very large coal or nuclear plant.
The firm created by this joining of forces is called Torresol and they've already got plans in the works and working, sun-tracking mirrors on the ground. The joint venture is looking to lay down roughly $1.25 billion on these projects. The play makes Torresol one of the largest solar thermal firms in the world, and they have lofty goals for the future.
Not only will they be bringing these pilot plants online in the next five years, but they hope to foster development of hundreds of more megawatts throughout the world. And by "foster development" they mean "sell the technology." I wish them luck.
written by Lauren Guite, March 14, 2008
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