Spanish energy developer Abengoa and the concentrating solar specialist BrightSource Energy have inked a partnership to construct and operate a 500MW solar tower project in California.
The proposed Palen solar complex will consist of what the companies claim will be world’s largest solar power towers.
Abengoa will be the main EPC contractor for the plants, and will also provide operations and maintenance services. BrightSource will design and provide the technological support for the plant.
The construction will break ground at the last quarter of 2013 while it is expected to be completed in 2016. During the construction stage more than 2,000 jobs will be created, the companies said.
Located in a Department of Interior Solar Energy Zone in Riverside County, California, the solar plant has two 250MW units. Each unit will be 750-feet tall, reducing by up to 33% the amount of land required.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has already issued constructing and operational authorisation for a solar thermal project on the site. In 2012, BrightSource asked to change the type of certification to deploy solar power tower technology instead.
The conversion to solar power tower technology means the project will have a lower impact, decreasing its footprint by some 13% and water consumption by 50%.
Abengoa and BrightSource have previous experience in constructing solar towers.
Abengoa owns 743MW of installed solar capacity and has 910MW under construction worldwide. The company utilises four solar towers in southern Europe, including a commercially operated plant that has been running since 2007. Abengoa is constructing a fifth tower in South Africa.
BrightSource operates solar towers in Coaling and in the Negev Desert. Its technology has been used in the 377MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California.