SolarReserve completes 540 foot solar power tower

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The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant, jointly owned by SolarReserve, engineering and construction company, ACS Cobra and the Santander bank, is located near Tonopah in the U.S. state of Nevada. SolarReserve says that in addition to being the world’s biggest, it will also be the nation’s first commercial-scale solar power facility with fully integrated energy storage, when complete. According to CEO Kevin Smith, the technology has the ability to store energy for between 10 and 15 hours, thus solving the issue of intermittent power generation to the grid.

Construction began on the project last September and is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2013. Currently over 100 workers are onsite. SolarReserve says this will, however, increase to over 600 at peak construction. It is hoped that, when operational, the plant will supply enough energy for 75,000 homes. A 25-year power purchase agreement has been signed with NV Energy.

Financing was closed on the project in September. In addition to private equity investment from SolarReserve, ACS Cobra and Santander, the project received support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program.

"Completion of the solar power tower is a significant milestone not only for SolarReserve and our plant, but also for the solar energy industry as a whole. This project is on track to bring American innovation to fruition and is already creating jobs," Smith asserted.

The topic of energy storage will be addressed at the first "Energy Storage – Summit for the Storage of Renewable Energies" conference, scheduled to be held in Düsseldorf, Germany this March 13 and 14.