Betting $2bn on Solar Energy
President Barack Obama, as part of his drive towards sustainable energy, has just announced that the US government will make available close on $2bn in loan guarantees to stimulate two large solar energy projects in the USA.
One project is by a company called Abengoa Solar that plans to build what is said to be the largest solar power plant in the world in Arizona . The plant will cover some 1,900 acres, the technology will use a modern form of what is quite and old solar technology, the parabolic trough. The installation will have a capacity of 280 MW and will use power thermal storage.
It is not specified what type of thermal storage will be used. Water is perhaps the most common medium with a capability, AFAIK, for one cubic meter of water to store 93 kilowatt/ hours, or 93 one bar electric fires burning for one hour!! Molten salt is another method used in solar applications to store heat at much higher temperatures.
The second project is by a company called Abound Solar Manufacturing. This company produces thin-film solar panels. Their current panels have a fairly low cost per watt and achieve a fairly modest 12-13% efficiency.
Good to see some moves happening.