The largest concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in California will be built approximately 86 miles from my home. The 250-megawatt plant is being built by Abengoa Solar which has a purchase power agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric.
When finished in 2013, the concentrating solar power project will be able to supply green energy to 90,000 homes. The Mojave Solar plant is being built upon 1,765 acres of an abandoned alfalfa farm just west of Barstow, CA and will use less water than the farm did to operate.
According to Abengoa Solar, “The plant uses parabolic mirrors that are arranged in long troughs and track the sun’s movement continually during the day, concentrating the solar radiation onto a heat-absorbing pipe at the focal point of the mirrors. A heat transfer fluid circulating inside the pipe reaches temperatures of more than 700 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat is then used to generate steam that drives a conventional steam turbine.”
If you’ve ever driven through Barstow, you’ll soon realize why some call it the “armpit of California” and what better place to put a large solar facility than a place where summer temperatures typically exceed 100 degrees F.
The new Abengoa Solar plant excites me for several reasons. First, since it’s only 86 miles from my home it will be easy to take an occasional trip there to check it out, take pictures and see the progress of the facility.
Second, I also live in San Bernardino County and as a resident, I know that last month the unemployment rate was 14.2-percent, which is quite a bit above the national average. While not solving the unemployment problem in the county the Mojave Solar project will provide 1200-plus good green jobs in the area. And, third, maybe I’ll be one of the lucky recipients of this green solar power in the future.
The Mojave Solar project is just one of many in the works right now that will offer good green jobs to many and bluer skies for all.