Solar Tribune

Abengoa & BrightSource to build world’s largest solar power towers in California


Spanish firm Abengoa will partner with BrightSource Energy to build the world’s two largest solar power towers in Riverside County, California.  

The power plant, based on concentrating solar thermal technology, is named Palen Solar Electric Generating System and will have a capacity of 500 MW, made up of two 250 MW, 750-foot tall towers.

The two towers will be surrounded by a field of heliostats – like mirrors – that reflect the sun’s light toward the towers. The solar energy will heat water to make steam to turn a turbine. Together, the two towers will produce enough energy to power 200,000 homes and displace 17 million tons of carbon dioxide.

This system requires 33 percent less land than a conventional PV solar farm; the mirrors will also be placed on poles that go directly into the ground (without concrete foundations), which means the native vegetation growing in the ground will remain in place.

BrightSource Energy's solar power tower in Coalinga, California. Credit: BrightSource Energy

BrightSource Energy’s solar power tower in Coalinga, California. Credit: BrightSource Energy

Abengoa will build the plants and will take care of operation and maintenance, while BrightSource will provide the solar field technology and plant design.

Construction on the project will begin at the end of this year and will be complete in 2016 – creating over 2000 jobs along the way.

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