In what both parties are characterizing as the biggest solar deal in the world, utility PG&E; and solar thermal power developer BrightSource have announced that they have signed an agreement to develop seven solar thermal power plants in California totaling 1.31 GW, the first of which, in Ivanpah, is expected to come online in 2012:
All together these seven plants are expected to generate 3,666 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually, equal to the the annual power consumption of about 530,000 average homes.
BrightSource Now Has Over 2.6 GW of Solar Thermal in Development
If you remember, back in February a strikingly similar deal for some 1,300 MW of solar thermal power was touted by BrightSource, this time with Southern California Edison.
Though they are two separated contracts—yes BrightSource now has some 2,610 MW of solar thermal power in development—the capacity of the initial plant in Ivanpah will be shared between the utilities: 310 MW going to PG&E; and 110 MW for SCE. (Earth2Tech)
Power-Tower Approach to Be Used
There are a number of different ways to generate electricity using solar thermal technology. BrightSource is using the power-tower approach (similar to the one which Abengoa recently commissioned in Spain). This method uses a field of heliostats to reflect sunlight onto a central tower, where a liquid-filled receiver creates steam, which in turn turns a turbine to generate electricity.
More: BrightSource Energy (press release)
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