The array is first large U.S. solar plant with a thermal energy storage system.
The switch has been flipped on a massive solar array field near Phoenix, producing up to 280 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 70,000 households.
Arizona’s largest public utility, Arizona Public Service (APS), will purchase all of the electricity produced by the solar plant for 30 years through a power purchase agreement with Abengoa Solar, the company that built the array. The solar array, financed in part by a Department of Energy loan guarantee, is the county’s first large-scale solar plant with thermal energy storage system. Through the use of molten salt thermal energy storage the plant can continue to produce steam to drive the turbine and provide electricity for six hours without the concurrent use of the solar field.
The Solana solar array field covers three square miles with about 3,200 mirrored parabolic trough collectors. Each collector is about 25 feet wide, 500 feet long, and 10 feet high. The Solana solar plant will generate enough clean energy to power 70,000 households and will prevent about half a million tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere per...