Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Edison Makes Another Big Solar Commitment

Edison, which already claims to purchase 90% of the solar power produced in the United States, has signed a contract with E Solar to purchase 245 MW of solar power to be produced by new solar installations in the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles.

The plants are scheduled to come on line in 2011 and ulitmately will provide enough power for 160,000 homes. According to the Los Angeles Times:

"Under the 20-year contract with Edison, 105 megawatts will be available by 2012, with the full 245 megawatts ready by 2013. Financial details, including the price ratepayers will bear, weren't disclosed."

The Times write-up aloso notes:

"The plants will employ a solar-thermal process involving thousands of mirrors, or heliostats, spread across seven 160-acre plots in Lancaster.

The mirrors concentrate the sun's rays onto water-filled receivers atop towers. The water boils, creating steam that operates turbines to create electricity.The installation will be more cost-effective than most tower plants because the towers and mirrors are smaller, said ESolar Chief Executive Asif Ansari, giving the private company an edge over dozens of more-experienced solar suppliers now scrambling for space in Southern California deserts. The towers and small mirrors, which can be assembled without heavy machinery, make for a more efficient permit and setup process, Ansari said."

E Solar was launched by Pasadena-based Idealab in 2007.