eSolar commissions 5MW solar thermal power tower in Southern California



eSolar has commissioned a 5MW concentrating solar thermal power plant in the Antelope Valley in eastern Los Angeles County. The 24,000-mirror Sierra SunTower, which the company says is the only power tower of its kind currently operating in the U.S., produces electricity for Southern California Edison and can power more than 4000 homes in the area.

Constructed in less than a year, the CST power plant marks the first of several developments in the Antelope Valley region using eSolar technology. This project created 300 jobs over the course of its construction.

eSolar develops its California projects on parcels of previously disturbed private lands. The company says that by using this approach, it avoids many of the permitting and environmental pitfalls of development on pristine desert lands.

Located in northern Lancaster, Sierra SunTower is built on private land designated for heavy industrial use. The decision to site projects solely on private land is unique within the utility-scale solar industry, and the distinction has garnered support from local environmental advocates.

In February, eSolar announced an agreement with NRG Energy to develop three plants in California and New Mexico that will generate up to 465MW of electricity using the Sierra SunTower technology. Additionally, in March, eSolar licensed its technology to India-based ACME Group for approximately 1GW of eSolar solar thermal capacity.

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