Clean power

Pacific Gas and Electric is to purchase renewable energy from the Mojave solar park in California’s Mojave desert.

California power supplier Pacific Gas and Electric has entered into a renewable energy agreement with Solel-MSP-1 to purchase renewable energy from the Mojave solar park, to be constructed in California’s Mojave Desert.

553MW of solar power, enough to power 400,000 homes, will be delivered to PG&E’s customers in northern and central California fron the solar park, which is the world’s largest single solar system

When fully operational in 2011, the Mojave Solar Park plant will cover up to 6,000 acres, or nine square miles, in the Mojave Desert. The project will rely on 1.2m mirrors and 317 miles of vacuum tubing to capture the desert sun’s heat.

In operation, parabolic mirrors concentrate solar energy onto solar thermal receivers. The receivers contain a fluid that is heated and circulated, and the heat is then released to generate steam. The steam powers a turbine to produce electricity, which can be delivered to a utility’s electric grid.

The electricity generated by Mojave Solar Park will use some of the transmission infrastructure originally built for a now dormant coal-fired Mojave generation station to deliver the power to PG&E’s customers.

PG&E has recently signed several other renewable energy agreements including an 85MW wind project with PPM Energy, 7MW of utility-scale solar projects with Cleantech America and GreenVolts, and a 25.5MW contract with Western GeoPower for a new geothermal energy facility in Sonoma County, California.