First Solar Thermal Solar Tower Power Plant Completed in United States
The Sierra SunTower solar power plant is the first commercial solar tower project in the United States that is competitive with fossil fuels
The 5 megawatt Sierra SunTower solar power plant in Lancaster, CA, built by Pasadena-based eSolar, has become the first commercial solar tower project in the United States that is actually competitive with fossil fuels.
This solar tower plant focuses sunlight from 24,000 mirrors on a pair of towers north of Los Angeles. The 850-degree heat atop the 160-foot towers boils water and the resulting steam spins a turbine on the ground. By utility standards, the Sierra SunTower is small enough to power about 4,000 homes at its peak 5-megawatt production.
(Watch E-Solar's CEO on video with FoxBusiness.)
But eSolar has deals in place to build larger solar tower plants, about 600 megawatts of peak power production in California and the Southwest, plus a gigawatt in India. Two of California's biggest utilities, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric, have already signed deals to buy their power.
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By purchasing power from these Solar Tower Power Plants companies rely less on fossil fuels imported from oversees, lower their costs and hence can roll over savings to the end users.