Location: Nye Valley, NV
In September 2011, the Department of Energy issued a $737 million loan guarantee to support developer SolarReserve’s 110 MW solar power tower that concentrates solar energy to heat molten salt, converting that heat into electricity. This project is the first commercial application in the U.S. and, upon completion, will be the largest molten salt power tower in the world.
The project is the first deployment of solar power tower technology in the U.S. that uses molten salt as a primary heat transfer fluid. The head absorbed by the salt can be stored and produce electricity when required. This enables the plant to generate clean, renewable power during times when direct sunlight is not available. The innovative molten salt storage allows the project to generate power at full load on call (dispatched) for up to 10 hours without any sun.
The project is estimated to create more than 600 construction jobs within the site’s active 1,600 acres of land. When the project is completed in 2014, it also will provide 45 jobs for plant-operations.
The project is expected to avoid nearly 280,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually—equivalent to the emissions of more than 50,000 vehicles—and will produce enough electricity to power more than 40,000 homes. Under the project’s unique development agreement with Nye County, the project targets filling 90% of the construction jobs with Nevada residents, utilizing both union and non-union subcontractors. During operations, the project will expend more than $10 million per year in salaries and operating costs.