The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

PG&E Approved to Buy Power from SolarReserve CSP Project with Molten Salt Storage

PG&E Approved to Buy Power from SolarReserve CSP Project with Molten Salt Storage

PG&E Corp., the owner of California's largest utility, received approval from regulators to buy power from a 150-megawatt solar-thermal project in the state's Sonoran Desert, the first commercial-scale system in the state to include energy-storage capabilities.

Closely held developer SolarReserve LLC will sell the output from its Rice project in Riverside County to PG&E’s Pacific Gas & Electric utility for 25 years beginning June 1, 2016, according to a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, which approved the contract at a meeting today in San Francisco. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The project will use thousands of mirrors to focus sunlight onto a central tower containing molten salt, which is funneled through a steam generator to produce electricity. The salt retains heat and can produce power at night, an advantage over photovoltaic panels that cost less and only work when the sun is shining, according to Commissioner Mike Florio.

“This is expensive, there’s no getting around it, but I think this technology is something that’s worth investing in,” Florio said at the meeting.

The molten salt system includes as much as 10 hours of energy-storage capability. It will cost about $600 million and construction may begin early next year, according to Kevin Smith, chief executive officer of Santa Monica, California-based SolarReserve.

Rice will be “the first large scale solar project in California with energy storage,” Smith said today by e-mail. The power-purchase agreement will help PG&E meet a state law requiring utilities to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2016 and 33 percent by 2020.

Different Approach

SolarReserve’s system differs from solar-thermal plants planned by BrightSource Energy Inc. in California that also feature molten-salt storage and use water as a heat-transfer fluid.

The SolarReserve system “is hopefully a more efficient technology,” Florio said. “I don’t think we want to put all of our eggs in one basket in exploring these new and innovative technologies.”

SolarReserve expects to begin operating this year its similar 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes project near Tonopah, Nevada, that will provide power for NV Energy Inc. and be “the first commercial scale molten salt power tower in the world,” Smith said.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

Lead image: Approved via Shutterstock


How to Win Planning Permission for Renewable Energy Projects (and Influence People)

Tildy Bayar, Contributor At Tuesday afternoon’s POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe conference session in Amsterdam, Paul Davison of PR firm Proteus discussed how to best communicate with the public regarding renewable ene...
Egypt flag

Egypt's Renewable Energy Drive Gains Steam

Andrew Burger, Correspondent There's a lot of action in Egypt's rapidly developing solar and renewable energy market space. Nearly 5 GW worth of solar power development agreements have been signed so far this year, while Egypt 's New and Renewable Ene...

Elon Musk Says Utilities Shouldn’t Fear His Battery Systems

Mark Chediak and Dana Hull, Bloomberg

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., told electric utility owners they shouldn’t fear that his battery systems will put them out of business -- instead, they should buy them.


India's Seabiscuit: How Solar Energy Can Be the Symbol of Hope for Electricity Woes

Aditya Goel, Ornate Solar For those unfamiliar with the story of the horse that Hollywood made famous, Seabiscuit was a small horse who had an inauspicious start to his racing career. History though, remembers Seabiscuit not for his diminutive...


Volume 18, Issue 3


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:



2015 Solar Power International

Stop by and visit Canadian Solar at the 2015 SPI show!

2015 Intersolar-North America

Intersolar is North America's premier solar show, and it is taking place...

PV-201: Introduction to PV Design & Installation

PV 201 Introduction to PV Design & Installation is simply the best i...


DIY: Don’t Install Yourself

You finally made the choice to go solar. Seems like it might be pretty e...

Capturing Your Prospects' Attention In Three Sentences

You have about 15 seconds to capture your prospects’ attention, wh...

Complexity Avalanche

One of the challenges we face in the efficiency industry is how to conve...


Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now