SolarReserve Receives Final Approval for its 200 MW Solar Thermal Project in Colorado
SolarReserve has received its final permit from the Saguache County Board of County Commissioners for its two 100 megawatt solar thermal energy facilities it has proposed to build.
When complete, each facility will be capable of supplying 450,000 megawatt hours of electricity -- enough to power 140,000 homes. SolarReserve says its unique energy storage technology will allow the facilities to generate twice as much power as a similar sized photovoltaic power plant.
The Saguache Solar Energy Project will have the capacity to store up to 15 hours or solar energy, which will allow for the power supply to be predictable, stable, and used on demand.
The project is expected to create 900 jobs during its 30-month construction phase, as well as 100 permanent jobs when the facilities become operational.
SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said, "This unique project can provide significant environmental and ratepayer benefits to Colorado by diversifying power generation resources from the volatility of conventional fuels, minimizing the use of water for power generation and providing a boost to the local and state economies through the deployment of innovative technologies. In addition, the energy storage technology provides a stable supply of renewable electricity to assist in backing up intermittent supply from wind and photovoltaic projects."
This announcement is not only beneficial for SolarReserve and Colorado, but also for the solar thermal industry. Although it has immense potential, and already established itself as a viable energy source in Europe, solar thermal technology has struggled to find its footing in the United States. 2011 was a particularly difficult year for the industry. Currently there are 507 MW of installed solar thermal energy in the country, with 8 GW in the construction pipeline.
However, 2011 saw Solar Millennium not only change its multi-billion dollar Blythe solar project from concentrating solar power to photovoltaic, but the German company also decided to sell its entire 2.25 GW solar portfolio in the United States. Additionally, Stirling Power, which was once considered "one of North America's brightest solar termal stars" filed for bankruptcy.
Image credit: SolarReserve
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