World’s largest solar thermal power plant now in commercial operation

World’s largest solar thermal power plant now in commercial operationAccording to TUJobs.com, the world’s largest solar thermal power plant is now in commercial operation in California, U.S., and is set to provide 140,000 homes with power through 173,500 computerized mirrors.

The production capacity of the solar thermal power plant constitutes 30 percent of all solar thermal energy now operational in the U.S., states majority owner NRG, which owns the giant power plant along with Google and BrightSource Energy.

The plant started providing electricity to California’s citizens after four years of work, which created thousands of work places and hired almost 3000 construction workers, completing more than eight million work hours.

“When fully operational, the three towers are capable of producing a total of 392 MW, which is enough electricity to provide 140,000 Californian homes with clean energy and avoid 400,000 tons of CO2 emissions yearly. This is the equivalent of taking 72,000 cars off the roads,” states a press release from the energy company NRG.

The 173,500 solar mirrors, also called heliostats, are computerized and provide the maximum amount of sunrays to hit the 135 meter tall sun tower of the plant. At the top of these collectors, the sunlight heats water and generates steam that in turn drives a turbine, a process that goes by the name Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). The power plant was built at the cost of US$2.2 billion.

Bellona Founder Fredric Hauge explains, “It’s a big day for the sector of the solar power industry that deals with concentrated solar power. We work closely with concentrated solar power through the Sahara Forest Project in Quatar and follow the development within this technology closely.”

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