A revolutionary solar generating and storage technology, in short, a beacon, is reportedly developed just an hour away from Area 51 in the Nevada desert. Area 51 is the popular classified facility where it is alleged that the U.S. Air Force hides evidence of space aliens. The beacon is in the process of making solar power a viable competitor to coal and nuclear. And, a new era in energy production is anticipated with the first utility-scale facility running in Crescent Dunes, Nevada.
The 110-megawatt concentrated solar power (CSP) plant that is built and operated by SolarReserve of Santa Monica, California is contributing to the Crescent Dunes Solar Power Plant in making solar power more affordable and carbon-free. The power generation at Crescent Dunes starts with around 10,347 mirrors and a total of 13 million square feet of glass.
The technology used is CSP, which uses a system of tracking mirrors to concentrate solar energy. The mirrors are known as heliostats due to the tilt, and the ability to precisely point its beam of light. The heliostats are arranged in concentric circles so that they focus sunlight on the ‘receiver’ at the top of the central tower.
The Crescent Dunes is said to use salts to capture and store the energy from the sun. The benefit is that solar power would be available 24 hours a day, which could meet the utility demands just like the conventional fossil fuels. The cold salt is pumped up to collect the generated heat that could reach up to a 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. And, the molten salt is then used to generate steam which could drive a turbine and also create electricity, which is 100% renewable and 100% clean.
The plant can reportedly produce 500,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year and could power 75,000 homes, day and night. Meanwhile, Mark Mehos, program manager for CSP research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado said that they would see many more CSP molten salt towers.