Pasadena, California-based eSolar, a producer of solar thermal power plants, has closed $130m in funding from Idealab, Google, Oak Investment Partners, and other investors to help it build and deploy its ‘pre-fabricated’ solar power plants.
eSolar’s solar thermal power systems use reflected sunlight as a heat-source to drive electric generators. Unlike photovoltaic systems which use semiconductor materials to directly convert sunlight into electrons, solar thermal systems use the sun’s heat to create steam to power electric generators.
Power plants themselves would be built from a 25MW base unit, called a module, that consists of several thermal receiver towers, each with a field of heliostats that track the movement of the sun.
The modules can be replicated as many times as necessary to meet specific power requirements. Modules can be constructed in series to meet long term energy goals, or in parallel to deliver large amounts of energy quickly.
eSolar has already secured land rights in the southwest US to support the production and transmission of over 1GW of power. The company will also have a fully operational power plant later this year in southern California.
eSolar claims that it has designed a solar field layout that minimises installation time and cost