The World’s Largest Solar Project will Power 1 Million U.S. Households

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
October 20, 2016

Ecowatch reported that the race to build the world’s biggest solar power plant is heating up. The California-based energy company SolarReserve announced plans for a massive concentrated solar power plant in Nevada that claims to be the largest of its kind once completed.

Kevin Smith, SolarReserve CEO told las Vegas review-Journal that the $5 billion endeavour would produce between 1,500 and 2,000 megawatts of power, enough to power about 1 million households. That amount of power is as much as a nuclear power plant, or equivalent to the 2,000 megawatt Hoover Dam and way bigger than any existing solar facility on Earth.

Smith stated that it’s a big and ambitious project. This project is called Sandstone and involves at least 100,000 mirrored heliostats that capture the sun’s rays, focuses and concentrates it into 10 towers equipped with a molten salt energy storage system. The molten salt is then heated to more than 1,000 degrees, then boils water and creates steam to power up turbines 24/7.

As compared to photovoltaic arrays, the appeal of CSP systems is that solar power can be used after the sun sets.

SolarReserve already operates a CSP plant near Tonopah, it’s a radical 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant that’s already operational and powering Nevada homes. The company stated that the CSP plant is completely emission free without the requirement for traditional fuels like natural gas or oil backup.

Smith said that the Sandstone construction possibly will not start for another 2-3 years. Once construction starts, Smith estimated the project should provide about 3,000 jobs for 7 years.

Smith also added that the company will also have to build a new transmission infrastructure to carry the power to market and the generated power will likely be exported to the California market.

SolarReserve is narrowing down project sites for their 6,500-hectare project. Smith also stated possible sites on federal and in Nye County have been included in the shortlist.

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