Every single solar thermal plant awarded under India’s federal subsidy program (JNNSM Phase 1) is delayed according to MNRE. Note I have been critical about solar thermal technology for a long time now because of the manifold problems that the technology faces. The sharp erosion in solar panel prices has made solar PV technology move [...]
We have repeatedly highlighted the drawbacks of solar thermal energy vis a vis crystalline solar panel technology. Solar Thermal Plants are getting replaced or mothballed altogether because of the high costs and long build times. India had awarded nearly 500 MW to 5 solar energy developers under JNNSM Phase 1 which were supposed to get [...]
I had profiled Brightsource energy as one of the their best solar startups in USA earlier, however things have changed dramatically in the interim with solar panel prices crashing to absurdly low levels. This has put question marks on the survival of each of these three with two of them eSolar and Brightsource being solar [...]
However Solar Thermal Technology is finding a niche in Hybrid Fossil Fuel Power Plants . The reason that Solar Thermal is gaining traction in Solar Hybrid Plants is
1) They can use the existing Electricity and Transmission Infrastructure of the new Fossil Fuel Plant or the Existing One
2) Solar Thermal Technology in most cases generate Steam which can be used by the Turbines of the Fossil Fuel Plant saving additional costs
Solar Power Plants in the USA are proliferating with the falling cost of solar energy and the increase in government support through the Treasury Grant subsidy.Thousands of Solar Jobs are being created in the USA as solar installers increase their workforce to cope with the rapid surge in demand.The crash in prices of solar panels has led to increase in demand for solar system installations.Also the state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) laws which make it mandatory for utilities to source a portion of their power from green energy sources has boosted the use of solar energy.Besides rooftop solar systems,large solar power plants are being built in the USA comprising of millions of solar panels with the help of DOE loan guarantees and 1603 Grants.Not only solar photovoltaic systems,but also solar thermal power plants which use solar heat to generate power are being built.Though some of the solar thermal power plants are now being converted to solar panel power farms due to their lower costs,still some solar thermal companies like Brightsource Energy continue to build massive solar farms.The list of solar power plants in the US is a constantly moving target but here is a list of the major solar power plants in the USA as well as some of the upcoming large solar power plants.Note this list is subjective as you can’t have a strict rule of solar system size to classify it a solar power plant.Also the huge number of solar installations makes it almost impossible to construct an exhaustive list of solar power plants.Here I am writing about the big solar power developers and their plans on developing large solar power plants.There are a number of smaller solar developers which I have not written about here.
Solar Thermal Energy has been losing out in the last couple of years to solar photovoltaic energy which is seeing a huge increase in demand amidst very low prices.Some of the major solar thermal energy projects in the globe have been converted into solar pv installations due to its lower costs.Some of the major solar thermal energy companies like Solar Millennium have sold their solar thermal portfolios to other companies while Stirling Power Systems has gone bankrupt.Tessera has sold its solar thermal plants which had gotten DOE Loan Guarantees in California to Solar Developers who have made these solar thermal plants into solar panel ones.However there are some companies like eSolar and Brightsource Energy which are powering ahead with their technologies and projects with backing from big industrial MNC conglomerates like GE and Areva.Their Power Tower Technologies are supposedly more efficient than the mainstream parabolic toughs that are used.