World's Largest Solar Energy Deal Signed
BrightSource Energy, a privately owned California company backed by investors such as Google.org, announced a 20 year contract with Southern California Edison to provide the utility with 1,300 Megawatts of electricity. This contract shatters the record of the previous largest deal of 553 MW supplied to California's PG&E by Solel.
As part of the project, BrightSource will build seven solar power plants in the desert outside of Los Angeles. The project will utilize BrighSource's "Luz Power Tower" (LPT) technology, which uses mirrors (heliostats) grouped together into a "Solar Power Cluster" to concentrate the sun's rays onto a water tower. The water is quickly heated to around 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and the resulting steam is used to power a turbine. Each cluster can generate approximately 33 MW of electricity.
The first of the seven solar power plants (located in Ivanpah, California) will generate 100 MW and is scheduled for completion in 2013. The project is still pending approval by regulators.