Science

World's Biggest Solar Project Ongoing; Will Generate As Much Power As Nuclear Power Plant

By J Russ I. , Oct 15, 2016 03:00 AM EDT
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An enormous power plant is being built by a California-based company, Solar Reserve. Upon completion, this will be the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) to ever graze American soil.

The projected cost of the project is said to be around $5 billion, according to Kevin Smith, SolarReserve's CEO. Called Project Sandstone, the power plant is estimated to generate 1,500 to 2,000 megawatts of power, enough to provide electricity to millions of homes.

That amount of energy is nearly equal to the power produced by a nuclear power plant and can rival the 2,000-megawatts that Hoover Dam is generating. Of course, the added bonus would be the solar plant isn't going to produce harmful emissions, according to Inhabitat.

At least 1,000 mirrored heliostats will be used by Project Sandstone. These will capture the sun's rays and gather it onto towers equipped with a molten salt energy storage system.

SolarReserve Undeterred About The Project's Ambitiousness

Though the endeavor is quite ambitious, this isn't the company's first attempt at creating the massive solar plant. SolarReserve has already proven itself when it created the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant in Tonopah that is currently providing power to thousands of Nevada homes, reported Ecowatch.

The facility has been the first ever to used molten salt power technology in a utility-scale power plant. The sun's heat is used to increase the temperature of the salt energy storage, which is then used to boil water creating a steam turbine that powers generators 24/7, all without employing fossil fuels or harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Project Sandstone To Create Jobs In The Next Seven Years

The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant is able to churn out 110 MW of renewable energy that's providing power to 75,00 homes yearly. "Energy storage provides a firm, reliable electricity product on-demand, day and night," said SolarReserve.

According to Smith, Project Sandstone will not begin construction until two to three years. Once it starts, the company's CEO estimates that it will create about 3,000 jobs in the next seven years.

The project will also spur similar endeavors in the future, with the developers saying 10 more will be built at undisclosed locations around the sunny desert state. Should these projects come to fruition, it will significantly reduce the reliance on fossil fuels in the western part of the United States.

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