Solar power is ready to prove it can hang with the big kids. Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Facility by SolarReserve, is a plant in the middle of the Nevada desert that is working to show the world how efficient and affordable solar energy can be. Unlike fossil fuels, solar provides a clean, carbon-free, day-and-night energy source, and can be utilized on an electric grid like the fossil fuel plants we use now.
Enter molten salt. The plant harnesses solar energy to heat up salt inside a tower. The salt gets to a balmy 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit and the water-like molten salt is stored and utilized in an insulated tank that generates enough steam to power a turbine.
And the process is more cost effective, too. Since 2009, the price per kWh has dropped from 13.5 cents, to about 6 cents at SolarReserve’s second plant in Port Augusta, Australia. Tom Koutsantonis, the state’s treasurer said the deal should worry fossil fuel plants who likely cannot match the price. “A shiver has just gone up the coal generation industry’s spine,” he said.
SolarReserve has some big shoes to fill, and their quest for changing the game in Energy isn’t ending anytime soon with plans to open 10 more facilities like Crescent Dunes in the Nevada desert, alone.