Tonopah Solar Energy


The Quartzsite Solar Energy Project is a concentrating solar power plant proposed to be located approximately 10 miles north of Quartzsite, Arizona. The project will utilize SolarReserve’s innovative concentrating solar power technology with thermal energy storage, and will have the capability to produce approximately 100 megawatts (MW) of power and 500,000 MWh of energy annually. If all permits are received by January 2012, the plant could be available for operation in 2014 or 2015. The project will help meet the increasing demand for clean, renewable electrical energy in the US and help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposed facility will use concentrating solar power (CSP) technology, and be equipped with an integral thermal energy storage system. The technology generates power from sunlight by focusing energy from a field of sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats onto a central receiver. Liquid salt, which flows similar to water when melted, is circulated through the receiver, collecting the energy gathered from the sun. The heated salt is then routed to an insulated storage tank where it is stored with minimal energy losses. When electricity is to be generated, the hot salt is routed to heat exchangers to produce steam used to generate electricity in a conventional steam turbine cycle. The salt is then sent to the cold salt storage tank, ready to be reheated by the sun and reused the following day. The liquid salt storage technology was demonstrated successfully at the U.S. Department of Energy ‐ sponsored 10 MW Solar Two project near Barstow, California.

SolarReserve’s unique CSP technology offers several important benefits. First, our technology stores renewable energy and can extract it on demand. The stable electricity supply reduces grid reliability impacts from other intermittent renewable energy sources. Second, the stored energy in the salt can be used to produce electricity whenever it is needed, even when there is no sunlight. This is beneficial in Arizona where peak electricity demand can continue after the sun goes down and other solar resources can no longer operate. In addition, with highly efficient heat transfer properties, the liquid salt provides a cost-effective way to store  renewable energy. Finally, SolarReserve’s CSP technology does not require the use of natural gas and associated combustion emissions to maintain operating stability as some other solar technologies do.

Key Project Benefits:

  • Help meet growing demand for clean, renewable energy sources.
  • Incorporate energy storage which provides operating stability for the electricity grid and a cost-effective way to meet peak electricity demand profile.
  • Boost the local economy by creating up to 450 construction jobs and up to 50 permanent operating jobs, and also significant property tax revenues that will benefit the local community and region.