BrightSource’s Big Plans


The CEO of BrightSource, John Woolard stated that Brightsource is going to use the novel technology of molten salt storage for its CSP(Concentrated Solar Power systems). Though more expensive than PV cells, CSP has a certain advantage over PV cells. CSP has the ability to store thermal energy even when the sun is not shining in the sky, which is not possible with PV cells.

BrightSource has recently applied for a license at the California Energy Commission for this 500-megawatt project. It will soon offer IPO’s for this Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System. The CEO of BrightSource further stated that future plants from BrightSource will be larger, enhanced with a low cost of energy per watt and a level cost of energy. BrightSource will now produce 250 megawatts of energy instead of its earlier 150 megawatts of energy. The height of the solar tower at the centre will be raised from 450 feet to 750 feet. These measures will cost BrighSource an increase of 40 % hike in the power blocks costs.

The Heliostat rows will be closer to each other and the mirrors will be steeper due to the increased height of the solar tower. Using this technology will enable BrightSource to use less land than it would have used if a PV or tough solar plant was developed.

The California Energy Commission states that the Hidden Hills Solar Electric Power Generating System (HHSEGS) by BrightSource will capture an area of around 3,277 acres on private land at Inyo County in California. This land is located neighbouring to the Nevada border. The site for the plant is located at a distance of 18 miles from south of Pahrump (Nevada) and 45 miles from west of Las Vegas (Nevada).

The Ivanpah project had the benefit of DOE loans. However, the HHSEGS will be backed without the advantage of DOE loans. The location of the power plant on private land will considerably lower the intensity of the project.

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