Largest Solar Plant in the World Coming to Arizona?

arizona solar project photo

Photo via Kingman Daily Miner

Could be--details are still emerging and sketchy, but it looks like one of the world's biggest solar projects will find its home in Arizona. The proposed 340 megawatt system would use advanced parabolic trough technology, and would cost over $2 billion--and yes, it would take advantage of stimulus funding. Looks like Arizona's becoming a hotbed for solar power indeed--this would be the fourth solar plant in Mohave County, AZ alone. Here are the whispered details:Mohave Sun Power and Albiasa Solar are the companies behind the ambitious installation, and they'll be using the same technology as another recently proposed massive solar project:

From the Kingman Daily Miner:

The project will use the same parabolic trough technology with molten salt storage that Albiasa Solar has proposed for its 200-megawatt plant south of Interstate 40 and west of U.S. 93. The project will be one of the largest in the world, said Greg Bartlett, project director.

Sounds good, even if there's some competition for that title right in the same state.

How the Largest Parabolic Trough System Will Work

Sunlight will be collected at the Mohave Sun Power and Albiasa facilities using mirrored troughs and focused on a tube of oil running through the center of the troughs. The oil will be transported back to a central facility where it will be used to generate steam. Some of the energy will be stored in molten salt tanks until it is needed during peak energy times.

Parabolic troughs are often motorized to focus the mirrors onto the sun for maximum efficiency.

parabolic trough technology image

Parabolic Trough Technology via Abnega Solar

The project would make use of stimulus funds, and would seek 30% funding from the provisions for renewable energy. And it'd be a boon to the economy, too:

If built, the project will create up to 1,500 jobs during its 2.5 to 3 year construction period, and offer more than 100 full-time jobs after the plant is completed. The company expects to start construction in the fourth quarter of 2010 and complete the project in the second half of 2013.

Much of the energy would be sent to Phoenix, where a burgeoning energy market is emerging.

parabolic trough solar photo

And it'd likely look something like this.

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