eSolar: solar power at competitive prices

by Antonio Pasolini on August 19, 2009

Exciting news from the solar power front: with 24,000 mirrors catching the Antelope Valley summer sun, eSolar, a leading provider of modular, scalable solar thermal power technology, unveiled its 5-megawatt (MW) Sierra SunTower solar power plant. The full-scale power plant, the only power tower of its kind in the U.S., produces electricity for Southern California Edison (SCE) and can power more than 4,000 homes in California’s Antelope Valley.

But what’s the novelty here? The eSolar technology resolves many of the problems that have held back large scale solar in the past including cost, speed of deployment and proximity to existing transmission lines. eSolar uses advanced software algorithms to precisely focus thousands of mirrors on a single point to efficiently harvest the sun’s energy and achieve economies of scale with a smaller footprint than anyone else in the business.

The company develops its California projects on parcels of previously disturbed private lands, avoiding many of the permitting and environmental pitfalls of development on pristine desert lands. Located in northern Lancaster, Sierra SunTower is built on private land designated for heavy industrial use, which has attracted praise from environmentalists.

“eSolar demonstrates that pristine wildlands do not have to be sacrificed in order to keep the lights on with clean energy,” remarked David Myers, Executive Director of the Wildlands Conservancy. “eSolar’s efforts to reduce its impact on the surrounding environment demonstrates a level of foresight we hope to see from other solar developers in the future.”

Sierra SunTower was fully financed and developed by eSolar, proving the rapid deployment, pre-fabricated method eSolar patented and pioneered. Building on Sierra’s success, eSolar will deploy many more plants around the country and around the world. In February, eSolar announced an agreement with NRG Energy, Inc. to develop three plants in California and New Mexico that will generate up to 465 megawatts of electricity using eSolar technology. Additionally, in March, eSolar licensed its technology to India-based ACME Group for approximately 1 gigawatt of eSolar solar thermal capacity.

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