Solar Company to Construct Full Scale Working Model

A U.S. energy company says it has tested its solar collector and now will build a full-scale model of the device.

LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, US, 2001-05-14 Solar Energy Limited has built and tested prototypes at its site in Los Alamos, and now plans to build a 10 acre solar collector. The unit would generate 13 million kWh/year of electricity (1.5 MW capacity) or produce 3.5 million gallons of fresh water per day by desalinating seawater. “The current energy crisis in the United States highlights the company’s activities in the fields of energy, water and pollution,” says president Melvin Prueitt. One of its projects is called ‘Solawatt,’ which is the acronym for the patented solar collector that collects solar energy to produce electricity or potable water from seawater. The cost of the full-scale model would be $2.5 million and the company is exploring sites and joint venture financing options. “The electrical generating capacity of the entire U.S. is estimated at 790 gigawatts,” says Prueitt. “It has been calculated that using the Solawatt system would require a total land area of 70 miles by 70 miles to produce the entire U.S. electrical capacity.” “This area would fit in small portions of unused deserts of the western U.S. which totals over 300,000 square miles,” he explains. “With our system there would be no more dams needed, no more nuclear waste to be disposed of, and no more massive CO2 discharged from the scores of coal fired electrical generating plants.” Electricity must be generated at less than 5¢/kWh and potable water at less than 50¢ per 1,000 gallons for Solawatt to penetrate the market. The collector can also collect energy at night at a reduced rate, notes Prueitt, as it stores energy in a unique fashion.