Early today, the California Energy Commission gave approval for the construction of the Blythe Solar Power Project in Riverside County, said to be the largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) facility in the world.
The four 250 MW solar farms will deliver 1,000 MW of generating capacity, enough to power in excess of 300,000 homes annually.
Josef Eichhammer, President of Solar Trust of America and CEO of Solar Millennium, LLC, said construction of the first two Blythe power plants is expected to begin by the end of the year.
“Together with the State of California’s leadership we are committed to restoring the state as the global leader in renewable energy. This multi-billion dollar facility will be the largest solar generating facility in the world and will help solidify that reputation.”
Once online, the solar farms will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately two million tons per year, the equivalent of removing more than 300,000 cars from the road.
With water being scarce in the California desert, the Blythe Solar Power Project will use “dry-cooling” technology, which uses 90 percent less water than a similar sized wet cooled CSP facility.
The multi-billion dollar project will also generate approximately 2,500 jobs during the construction period and more than 200 permanent jobs once the solar farm is completed.
Unlike a solar farm where solar panels are used, concentrated solar power technology employs mirrors called heliostats to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto liquid-filled tubes used to generate steam and spin turbines.
The Blythe Solar Power Project will make a significant contribution to the State of California’s goal of having one third of its electricity come from renewable sources by 2020.