Power Engineering announced the selection of eSolar’s Sierra SunTowerfacility, a state-of-the-art solar thermal power plant, as the winnerof "Best Renewable and Sustainable Project" at the 2009 Projects of theYear Awards.
Each year, Power Engineering magazine editorsrecognize the world’s best projects in four major categories:gas-fired, coal-fired, nuclear and renewable. The award comes less thanfour months after eSolar’s Sierra SunTower was launched anddistinguishes the facility as an exceptional power generation projectto meet growing global demand. eSolar celebrates this recognition alongwith its recent selection as a Technology Pioneer 2010 by the WorldEconomic Forum.
“eSolar has created a new blueprint forconcentrated solar thermal, one that overcomes the barriers of costthat have long stood in the way of the technology’s tremendouspotential to deliver renewable energy on a global-scale,” said BillGross, CEO of eSolar.
eSolarunveiled Sierra SunTower, a 5 MW commercial-scale solar power plant, inAugust 2009. Located in Lancaster, California, Sierra SunTower is theonly power tower facility currently operating in North America.
Sincecompletion, its thermal receivers have consistently producedsuper-heated steam with an average operating temperature of 800°F at apressure of 900 psi. The facility delivers clean, renewable energy tothe grid through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SouthernCalifornia Edison.
As eSolar’s first commercial project, SierraSunTower showcases technological innovations that address the keyobstacles facing utility-scale solar installations. eSolar dramaticallyreduces costs by using less steel and more software. By leveragingadvanced algorithms for precise sun tracking, eSolar utilizes small,pre-fabricated plant components to drive down costs. Projects can bedeveloped on small parcels of land close to existing transmissionlines, thereby overcoming environmental concerns.
The first ofseveral solar plants planned for the Antelope Valley, Sierra SunTowerdelivered a boost to the local economy by creating nearly 300 jobs atthe peak of construction; in operation, the site employs more than 20permanent staff.
“The Sierra SunTower project from eSolarexemplifies the kind of creative thinking and innovation that PowerEngineering magazine’s editors hope to foster through our annualProjects of the Year awards program,” said David Wagman, chief editorof Power Engineering magazine. “The eSolar team is to be congratulatedfor this outstanding project, which was our hands-down choice as thebest renewable energy project of the year.”
Winners wereannounced at the Projects of the Year Awards gala banquet held onDecember 7 as part of the POWER-GEN International Conference in LasVegas.