Forum latest

Massive 280 MW Solar Plant Coming to Arizona in 2011
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 29 February 2008 12:10

 A new trough-based solar power plant is being constructed in the Arizona desert, which will blow away past designs

Jason Mick (Blog) - February 28, 2008 10:45 AM

There is an estimated 175 petawatts of solar energy absorbed in the upper atmosphere at any time, around 8,000 times the worldwide energy usage in 2004. This massive unharnessed power has motivated many to study solar power in its various forms as a promising source of alternative energy.

While moderate adoption of solar power has occurred over the course of the last 40 years, with solar power currently accounting for 0.04% of the world's total energy consumption, there is still a long way to go to fully tap this massive energy source. Currently, there are three main means of solar power production. One method is the use of solar troughs or solar power towers which focus solar energy on water or another evaporant, turning it into steam. This steam then drives turbines and is recondensed to liquid. One disadvantage, however, is that most current trough plants cannot produce power at night.

Another method is photovoltaics, but these plants tend to be more expensive. Photovoltaics can have the advantage of no moving parts, though some have motors to allow them to track the sun. By featuring a smaller number of moving parts, photovoltaics have a slight advantage over troughs, as the extra mechanical components in troughs can easily break and require maintenance. Troughs, towers, and non-concentrated solar voltaics have approximately the same efficiency -- around 15%. More advanced solar cell designs promise even higher efficiencies, but are not yet commercially producible. Concentrated photovoltaics have a higher efficiency, but require more infrastructure and more mechanical components.

Finally, a relatively new approach is to use concentrated solar energy, typically from a parabolic disk, to run a Stirling engine. This type of production is more expensive and not as extensively researched, but it has efficiency unmatched by anything except concentrated photovoltaics.

The current record for solar plants is held by a nine-plant 350 MW collective, named Solar Energy Generating Systems, located in the Mojave Desert. The plant utilizes chiefly trough designs. The U.S. also holds the record for the third largest plant, also implementing the trough design, the 64 MW Nevada Solar One plant. The largest photovoltaic plant is far behind, the Beneixama photovoltaic power plant in Spain, at 20 MW. The largest U.S. photovoltaic plant is the 14 MW Nellis Solar Plant.

Now a new 280 MW trough plant project looks to far surpass past capacities and maximize the potential of this type of solar power. The new commercial endeavor, launched by Abengoa Solar aims to build what would today be the world's largest solar plant, operating in the Arizona desert. Abegnoa Solar signed a contract with Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), one of Arizona’s leading energy utilities, to build and operate the plant.   [DailyTech...]  [Comments...]

See also

None found.

Hardware | Windows | Linux | Security | Mobile Devices | Gaming
Tech Business | Editorial | General News | folding@home

Forum | Download Files

Copyright ©2001 - 2012, AOA Forums.  All rights reserved.

Alliance of Overclocking Arts

Links monetized by VigLink

Don't Click Here Don't Click Here Either