GOOD’s energy and environment columnist Ben Jervey recently reported that America’s first “solar thermal” power plant, in Lancaster, California, is now fully functioning. This technology uses the sun’s light to heat water for steam power rather than using solar panels to convert light to energy directly.
Solar thermal can absolutely revolutionize the solar industry since it is relatively cheaper to execute and mirrors are much more cost-effective than silicon solar cells. Experts consider that the solar thermal plant constitutes the ‘cheapest’ solar project in history – a project that could power the entire state of California with just 25 square miles of mirrors and towers. And this is good news for consumers too, as it will pressure electricity prices down.
For more information on the benefits of solar thermal, check out GOOD’s great primer on the technology.