October 24 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy Year: 2009 Rating: 2
Ausra, Inc executives standing next to California Eco-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launched the company’s Kimberlina Solar Thermal Energy Plant in Bakersfield, CA. It is the first solar thermal plant in the state in nearly 20 years.
Solar Thermal vs Photovoltaic panels
Unlike photovoltaic solar panels, which convert the light from the sun into electricity and are commonly rooftop mounted, solar thermal facilities use large fields of mirrors to concentrate and capture the sun’s heat, converting it into useful forms of energy. In Ausra’s technology, heat is focused on tubes of water to create steam that drives large power turbines, generating clean, reliable electricity and high-temperature, “process” steam for industrial applications.
Ausra recipe for success?
A Series of Tubes for scaling the sun’s power
The Palo Alto, CA based company expects the full output of Kimberlina to generate 5 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power 3,500 homes in central California. While Kimberlina is small compared to most utility plants, Ausra’s next generation solar thermal technology, is ready to scale. The company is also developing Ausra’s 177- megawatt Carrizo Plains solar power plant with California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). When completed, Ausra’s Carrizo facility will generate enough electricity to power more than 120,000 homes.