The Solana solar thermal plant is now operating near Phoenix AZ, producing power for 70,000 homes. It reflects the sun’s heat to a central tower to power turbines and also stores excess heat in molten salt so power can be generated for up to six hours at night too.
Solana (PDF) is a 280-MW (gross) utility-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) plant being built by Abengoa outside of Phoenix, Arizona. CSP is a technology that uses mirrors to concentrate the thermal energy of the sun to drive a conventional steam turbine.
Financed in part by a Department of Energy loan guarantee, Solana will deliver enough electricity to supply approximately 70,000 Arizona households, with over 70 percent of the construction components, products and services sourced from companies here in the USA
GigaOm notes Solana was completed on time and received a $1.45 loan guarantee from DOE.