After decades of product development, years of lining up project financing and land deals, and months of rancorous battles with environmentalists, it appears that the long-anticipated blooming of huge solar plants in the Mojave Desert is nearly at hand. Three massive projects are due to receive the California Energy Commion's approval soon.
August is turning out to be a critical month for concentrating solar thermal developers. The California Energy Commission's siting committee has issued recommendations for not one, but three projects over the past week, for a whopping total of 1.6 GW. These are decisions that could pave the way for final approvals by the commission before the year's over...
The sizes of the three projects combined will dwarf just about any solar project (either PV or thermal) that has ever come on line in the country. The largest complex of solar power plants is in California, but the 354 megawatts of solar thermal power stations were built from 1984 to 1991. The largest project that uses solar panels is the 25-megawatt facility in Florida commissioned by Florida Power & Light only last October.
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