World’s Largest Solar Plant Opens In California
All Three Units of 392 megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Now Delivering Solar Power to California’s Electric Grid
At full capacity, the facility’s trio of 450-foot high towers produces a gross total of 392 megawatts (MW) of solar power, enough electricity to provide 140,000 California homes with clean energy and avoid 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, equal to removing 72,000 vehicles off the road.
Take 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each 7 feet high and 10 feet wide. Control them with computers to focus the Sun’s light to the top of 459-foot towers, where water is turned into steam to power turbines. You have the world’s biggest solar power plant.
Storage is seen as a key technology in the next chapter of the solar story. Whereas before a primary motivation for installing a PV system was the promise of a healthy financial return offered through generous feed-in tariffs, as those tariffs begin to be withdrawn and electricity prices continue to rise, that narrative is changing; now self-consumption of PV-generated electricity is becoming more attractive as a means of offsetting rising electricity bills.
Central to that concept taking hold is energy storage, which allows PV users to keep hold of electricity at times of peak generation during the day and use it at times when grid electricity is more costly.
But storage equipment is also currently expensive and will require further technological innovation before becoming an economically viable prospect for the average PV user. As it led the way with the feed-in tariff, so Germany is once again blazing a trail, this time with a subsidy programme to encourage the take-up of PV storage. Industry observers hope that greater deployment of energy storage will drive its cost down, in the same way subsidisation of PV has helped make it more affordable. This page brings together our coverage of the evolution of the PV storage market. (PV-Tech)Economic Development, Photonics, Photovoltaics, silicon photonics