WASHINGTON, DC - The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®) praised Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for his leadership that resulted in the groundbreaking today for the 1,000 megawatt (MW) Blythe Solar Power Project in Blythe, Calif., which will be the world's largest solar energy facility. The completed project is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 200,000 households.
"This project is an example of what happens when you combine smart policies, world-class solar resources and innovative technology that is ready to help meet America's clean energy needs," said Manning Feraci, Vice President of Legislative Affairs at SEIA. "Today, half a dozen utility-scale solar power plants are under construction. Utility-scale solar is poised to play a significant role in our clean energy future, thanks to the leadership of Secretary Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey."
The concentrating solar power (CSP) plant being developed by Solar Trust of America and Chevron Energy Solutions consists of four separate 250 MW plants that together represent the world's largest utility-scale solar power plant. The project uses solar parabolic trough technology to capture and concentrate heat that powers a standard steam turbine.
The Blythe Solar Power Project is one of nine solar projects that received permits last year under a fast-track review process administered by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These were the first-ever solar projects that received permits on public land; annually BLM approves more than 1,500 permits for oil and gas drilling. The Blythe project subsequently received a $2.1 billion conditional loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in March (2011).
The United States has a total of 9 gigawatts of CSP projects in the pipeline, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight?: Q1 2011 report released this week by SEIA and its partner, GTM Research. This is enough power to serve about 2 million U.S. households. According to the report, "The U.S. could once again be at the top of the global market."
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA and its 1,000 member companies are building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.