It would appear that America’s City of Sin is going solar with news that Las Vegas will soon be powered by a massive 100MW 540 foot solar tower. Atop it will be 100-foot receiver that will received solar energy from the field of 10,000 large mirrors that will populate the area around the tower. Thanks to Nevada’s large amount of sunlight, it is hoped that the solar tower will be able to receive 10 to 15 hours of sunlight a day. The project, known as the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, is being headed by American company SolarReserve, who is using a molten salt storage facility to deliver power to the grid once the sun has gone down. In a statement, the company said that they hope to complete the solar tower by the spring and aim to start delivering 110 megawatts by the end of 2013. Hopefully, not all of it will be used to power the famous Strip.

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For those of you with an interest in solar technology, SolarReserve is using a technology that is different from traditional molten salt storage systems. It sees electricity generated from a 10 hour storage facility and is the only one that uses fluid-salt that is heated to about 1,000 degrees.

Like all solar towers, sunlight is reflected off the large tracking to the 100-foot receiver which houses a series of tubes of circulating salt. The heated salt is pumped up from a base facility, heated up and circulated down into another storage tank. When power is needed, the hot salt goes through another heat exchanger on the ground to make steam which drives a traditional electricity turbine.

It is hoped that the 110 MW solar tower will be able to produce about 500,000 megawatt-hours per year with the cost for energy projected to be 13.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. This will however go up 1 percent a year during its 25-year power purchase agreement. According to SolarReserveCEO Kevin Smith, “the technology has been well proven. (But) this is project No. 1, so it’s like a hand-crafted large-scale project. The key for future projects is to make improvements on the pricing.”

While the price may go up, I guess that anything that makes Vegas greener (especially The Strip) is good in my book.

+ Solar Reserve

Via CNET News

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