Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Full steam ahead for Nevada solar project

The Nevada Solar One power plant is essentially a tea kettle, just one that happens to take up 300 acres and can provide enough power for 15,000 homes. The plant, which will start to generate electricity for nearby Las Vegas in April, consists of approximately 184,000 mirrors arranged in long, parabolic arrays that focus the sun's energy on a receiver--a metal tube filled with oil that's encased in specialized glass--from German conglomerate Schott.

...The power generated by the plant, minus any subsidies, may not get to parity with electricity generated from conventional plants until around 2020, added Nikolaus Benz, a development manager for Schott.

...Schott, for example, has come up with a new coating for the glass tube on the receiver that lets 96 percent of the solar radiation through to the oil-filled metal tube sealed inside the glass.

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