Infinia Plans Small-Scale Solar Stirling Dishes
Infinia, a company based in Kennewick, Washington, plans to release a Stirling solar dish about the size of a large satellite TV receiver. Instead of using photovoltaic cells, it will use the sun's heat to generate electricity. Standard solar photovoltaic panels are generally 12 percent to 15 percent efficient at converting light to electricity, though some can go up to 22 percent. Infinia's planned 3-kilowatt Stirling engine will operate at 24 percent efficiency. The product is slated for final design later this year and commercial release in 2008. The target customers for Infinia's first solar Stirling engine are larger organizations such as city governments. Infinia's dish looks like a scaled-down version of the dish by Stirling Solar Energy, which has been in development for many years. Stirling Solar Energy is building power plants with arrays of giant dishes with more than 80 mirrors in the California desert to generate hundreds of megawatts of electricity. It has signed two power generation contracts with California utilities. See ZDNET for more details.