Back in February it was announced that NRG Energy and eSolar would be developing 500 MW of solar power plants in the desert Southwest, with the electricity going to Southern California Edison. Here's an update on that: eSolar (sans-NRG this time) has taken the first small step towards that goal, completing its first utility-scale solar thermal power tower in Lancaster, California:The 5 MW Sierra Sun Tower uses 24,000 mirrors to focus the sun's heat onto a central tower, which can generate enough electricity for 4,000 homes. Total construction time was under one year.
eSolar points out that it plans on developing all its California projects on "previously disturbed private lands," thereby trying to avoid the permitting problems associated with developing undisturbed desert areas. The SunTower project was built on land already zoned for heavy industrial use.
500 MW of Solar Power Plants in California, Southwest to be Developed by NRG Energy & eSolar
Ausra Opens First US Solar Thermal Power Plant in Bakersfield, California
850 MW Solar Thermal Power Plant Seeks California State Approval