Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Friday, September 25, 2015

H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station


AREVA Solar Power System
Adjunct to the Tucson Power Plant

I noticed this power plant shortly after I got here. It's a big industrial looking establishment, but it doesn't really look like a power plant - no giant smokestacks, no billowing clouds of steam. Looks like it might be a cement factory, but it's very clean looking, much cleaner than a cement factory ought to be. And there's this weird, long, silver rail propped up on stilts. Looks like one rail for a gantry crane, but like I said, there's only one. Iaman tells me it's some kind of solar dohickey, which is what the video is about.
    Our basic way of making electricity is to spin a generator using a steam turbine. You can make steam any number of ways; by burning fossil fuels, concentrating radioactive isotopes till they get hot, or use the sun like they are doing here. Disadvantage of using the sun is it only works during the daylight hours, but that's also the time you need power for your air conditioners, so perhaps here it works out.
   5 megawatts = 6,705 hp. I think they said that's enough for 600 homes. Utilities need to plan for worst case which means you've got everything turned on, and in a big house that could come to 10KW. This solar contraption cost about $8 million, which is kind of steep for that much power production, but then it doesn't use any fuel.

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