Nevada Solar One

Nevada Solar One is a concentrated solar power plant, with a nominal capacity of 64 MW and maximum capacity of 75 MW spread over an area of 400 Acres. The projected CO2 emissions avoided is equivalent to taking approximately 20,000 cars off the road annually. The project required an investment of $266 million USD and the project officially went to operation in June 2007.[1] Electricity production is estimated to be 134 million kilowatt hours per year.[2]

It is the second solar thermal power plant built in the United States in more than 16 years[3] and the largest STE plant built in the world since 1991.[4] It is in Eldorado Valley in the southwest fringe of Boulder City, Nevada and was built in that city's Energy Resource Zone which requires renewable generation as part of plant development permits; Nevada Solar One was approved as part of Duke Energy's larger El Dorado Energy project that built 1 GW of electrical generation capacity. The solar trough generation was built by Acciona Solar Power, a partially owned subsidiary of Spanish conglomerate Acciona Energy.[5] Lauren Engineers & Constructors (Abilene, TX) was the EPC contractor for the project.[6] Acciona purchased a 55 percent stake in Solargenix (formerly Duke Solar) and Acciona owns 95 percent of the project.[7] Nevada Solar One is unrelated to the Solar One power plant in California.



A year earlier, Arizona Public Service's Saguaro Solar Facility opened, in 2006, using similar technology, located 30 miles north of Tucson, and producing 1 MW.[8] Nevada Solar One went online for commercial use on June 27, 2007. It was constructed over a period of 16 months. The total project site is approximately 400 acres (0.6 mi² / 1.6 km²), while the solar collectors cover 300 acres (1.2 km2).


The Nevada Solar One uses proprietary technology to track the sun’s location and concentrate its rays during peak demand hours. The plant uses 760 parabolic troughs concentrators with more than 182,000 mirrors that concentrate the sun’s rays onto more than 18,240 receiver tubes placed at focal axis of the troughs and containing a heat transfer fluid (solar receivers). Fluid that heats up to 735°F flows through these tubes and is used to produce steam that drives a conventional turbine, which is connected to a generator that produces electricity.The mirrors are manufactured by Flabeg AG in Germany.[9] In contrast to the power tower concentrator concept that California's original Solar One project uses. These specially coated tubes, made of glass and steel, were designed and produced by Solel Solar Systems[10] as well as by Schott Glass in Germany.[11] Motion control was supplied by Parker Hannifin, from components by Ansco Machine Company. The plant uses 18,240 of these four-meter-long tubes. The heat transfer fluid is heated to 735 °F (391 °C). The heat is then exchanged to water to produce steam which drives a Siemens SST-700[12] steam turbine, adapted to the specific requirements of the CSP technology.[13]

Solar thermal power plants designed for solar-only generation are well matched to summer noon peak loads in areas with significant cooling demands, such as the southwestern United States. Using thermal energy storage systems, solar thermal operating periods can be extended to meet base load needs.[14] Given Nevada's land and sun resources the state has the theoretical ability to produce more than 600 GW using solar thermal concentrators like those used by Nevada Solar One.[15]

Nine parabolic concentrator facilities have been successfully operating in California's Mojave Desert commercially since 1984 with a combined generating capacity of 354MW for these Solar Energy Generating Systems. Other parabolic trough power plants being proposed are two 50 MW plants in Spain (see Solar power in Spain), and two 110 MW plants in Israel.[16]

It has been proposed that massive expansion of solar plants such as Nevada Solar One has the potential to provide sufficient electricity to power the entire United States.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Acciona web site ACCIONA’s Nevada Solar One — Demonstrating the Commercial Competitiveness of Solar Energy
  2. ^ Technology News Daily. Nevada Solar One.
  3. ^ Utility-Scale Solar Plant Goes Online in Nevada
  4. ^ Arizona Utility to Buy Power from a 280-Megawatt Solar Power Plant - EnergyVortex
  5. ^ "Acciona Energía website". Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  6. ^ "Nevada's Largest Solar Power Plant Opens". Southwest Contractor. June 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  7. ^ "ACCIONA invests 220 million euros in a solar thermal electric power plant in Nevada (USA)" (in Spanish). 2006-02-13. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-10-23. 
  8. ^ Raising Arizona’s renewable power
  9. ^ Flabeg AG - solar power mirror installations
  10. ^ "Solel website". Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  11. ^ Schott AG - special glass tubing
  12. ^ "Siemens website - steam turbines for CSP plants". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  13. ^ "Article EngineerLive "Sun shines on solar power steam turbine generators"". Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  14. ^ Spain Pioneers Grid-Connected Solar-Tower Thermal Power p. 3.
  15. ^ Nevada Solar One Goes Online
  16. ^ Israeli company drives the largest solar plant in the world
  17. ^ David Comarow, "Here Comes the Sun," Kyoto Planet Sustainable Enterprise Report, Nov. 2008 Whitepaper.

External links

Coordinates: 35°48.0′N 114°58.6′W / 35.8°N 114.9767°W / 35.8; -114.9767

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