August 20, 2013

Arizona home to one of world’s largest solar plants

GILA BEND — Just off the highway that many Valley residents travel on their way to California, thousands of mirrors planted on 3 square miles of former farmland are about to change the solar landscape in Arizona.

The $2 billion Solana Generating Station, once it begins sending power to the grid in August, will be one of the largest solar plants of its kind in the world. It won’t be unique in the amount of power it makes from the sun, but for what it generates after sunset.

Not only will the plant have a capacity of about 280 megawatts, enough to serve about 70,000 homes at once, but it will also be able to continue providing much of that power for six hours after sunset thanks to an innovative heat-storage system that doesn’t rely on expensive batteries.

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