Ground was broken for the construction of a 300-acre solar power plant in Boulder City, Nev., expected to meet the power demands of about 40,000 households. It is the largest solar power plant built anywhere in the world in the last 15 years.
Nevada Solar One, developed by Solargenix Energy of North Carolina, is expected to spark the emergence of a renewable energy industry in southern Nevada, state officials told the Las Vegas Sun. Schott AG, the German technology group, will be providing 19,300 solar receivers that will form the key components of the 64-megawatt power plant. The plant will use parabolic trough technology, a system in which parabolically shaped mirrors are used to focus the suns rays on a tube containing heat transfer fluid which in turn provides the heat to generate the steam used to power the turbines which drive electric generators. Similar technology was used for nine power plants built in California between 1984 and 1990, which are still operating.
The use of solar power to produce electricity at the plant, rather than fossil fuels, will result in a reduction of greenhouse gases, equivalent to removing approximately 1 million cars from U.S. highways, according to a statement by Schott. The plant, expected to cost $100 million, is scheduled to be operational by March 2007, said Gary Bailey, regional managing director for Solargenix.