Monday, January 3, 2011

Solar Plant to Generate Power After Sundown

Something new is headed for the Southwest desert: solar power plants that can make electricity whether or not the sun is shining. Abengoa Solar Inc. expects to start construction in mid-2011 on a plant in Arizona that will store sun-generated heat to provide six extra hours a day of electric-generating capacity. The heat creates steam that is used to turn power turbines. When it comes to renewable energy, solar competes most heavily against wind power. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., in February 2010 found that utility-scale solar plants with storage capacity were three times as costly to build as wind farms without energy storage. More>