A new record: 553 MW of Solar Power

The Mojave Desert in California will be the host for the largest solar power project in the world with 553 MW installed capacity. The Mojave Desert already HAS nine solar power plants in operation, summing 354 MW.

The technology used in the new power plant is the same as in the previous ones, but 20% more efficient due to improvements in the design of the solar through and the receiver tube. The technology uses parabolic mirrors that concentrate solar energy in the solar thermal receiver tubes. These are filled with a liquid that is heated by the sun, circulates and releases heat to produce steam that powers a turbine to produce electricity.

The project counts 1.2 million mirrors and 317 miles of receiving tubes to collect the sun’s heat. It is planned for completion by 2011 and should provide electricity to 400,000 homes. The cost is expected to be around 10 to 12 cents/kWh, but many experts and economists predict that this price will continuously drop over the next few years with growing installed capacity.

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