The solar project will be constructed on approximately 1,500 acres of private land near Blythe. The project will use a concentrated solar power (CSP) design with molten salt storage technology from Pratt & Whitney Rocket.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a power purchase agreement (PPA) for PG&E Corp., the owner of California’s largest utility, to receive power from a 150-MW solar-thermal project in California’s Sonoran Desert.
The developer of the Solar Rice Energy Project is SolarReserve LLC., and the term of the PPA is 25 years, commencing June 1, 2016. SolarReserve originally announced the agreement with PG&E in December 2009.
The solar project will be constructed on approximately 1,500 acres of private land near Blythe. The project will use a concentrated solar power (CSP) design with molten salt storage technology from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
Thousands of mirrors will focus sunlight onto a central tower containing molten salt, which is heated from 500 to over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When electricity is needed, day or night, the high-temperature molten salt flows into the steam generator, as water is piped in from the water storage tank, to generate steam. After the steam is used to drive the steam turbine to generate power, the steam is condensed back to water and returned to the water holding tank, where it flows back into the steam generator when needed.
Once the hot salt is used to create steam, the cooled molten salt is then piped back into the cold salt storage tank, where it will then flow back up the receiver to be reheated as the process continues.
The molten salt system includes as much as 10 hours of energy-storage capability. The estimated cost is approximately $600 million, and construction may begin early next year, according to the CEO of SolarReserve.
In September 2011, SolarReserve began construction in Nevada on a similar project, the 110-MW Crescent Dunes Project, which is scheduled to be completed late this year.