Gallery: Brightsource Energy Gets $1.4 Billion Loan for Massive Solar T...


Solar power got a big boost this week with news that the U.S. government is guaranteeing $1.37 billion in loans to BrightSource Energy for the construction of three solar thermal plants in the Mojave Desert. The plants are expected to generate 400 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 140,000 homes — in what is being called the world’s largest solar energy project.

BrightSource’s plants will generate power using heliostats that track the sun with mirrors. Sunlight from the heliostats is reflected onto a water-filled boiler placed on top of a tower. The boiler then produces steam that spins a turbine.

If all goes well with the permit process, BrightSource expects to start construction later this year, with an expected completion date of 2014 for all three plants. The plants should generate plenty of jobs — 1,000 positions during the construction phase and 86 permanent jobs. Of course, there are still some hurdles to overcome before the plants can be built. BrightSource has already been forced to scale back its solar thermal plant plans significantly because of concern for a rare tortoise.

+ BrightSource Energy

Via Washington Post


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  1. fireofenergy February 27, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    This is great, but at over $3 a watt x 4 (for 25% capacity) = a bit more than that nuclear deal…
    Also, Can’t the Feds support the molten salt approach, that is, how much will it cost to make the heliostat field FOUR times larger and store 3 times the energy as molten salt (which boils water whenever). Wouldn’t the price be back down to tolerable levels (since the Brayton or less effecient Rankine would always be running and is part of that “quarter capacity” cost anyways)?

  2. davidwayneosedach February 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    This looks a lot like the Mohave desert from Barstow to Las Vegas on Interstate 15. Hot and sunny! Rain maybe 3 days in a year.

  3. side February 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    This is an old news but really a great project. Where the project started its operation in 2011, but deferred past summer seems textbox.

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