Construction is now complete on the Mt. Signal Solar facility in the USA, which consists of more than 3 million solar panels.
Constructed by Abengoa SA (Seville, Spain) for Silver Ridge Power; the plant is located in Southern California on the U.S.-Mexico border. Covering 801 hectares, the solar farm is the largest PV power station to use single-axis tracking technology.
Power generated by Mt. Signal will be purchased by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. under a 25 year power purchase agreement (PPA). Enough electricity will be generated by the solar panels to supply the electricity needs of around 72,000 homes and 356,000 tons of CO2 emissions will be avoided annually.
With Mt. Signal complete, Silver Ridge Power now has a stake in 51 solar power plants with a collective capacity of approximately 522 megawatts. The company states approximately 55% of its installed generating capacity is located in the United States, 41% in Europe and 4% in India.
One of the major investors in this project has been Google, which plowed $103 million into the facility. Google has now invested well over a billion dollars in various renewable energy projects.
In other recent news from Abengoa, the company held a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the commencement of construction of the first solar-thermal plant in Latin America; which will be located in the commune of María Elena in the Atacama Desert, Chile. The 110 MW solar plant will use tower technology and feature 18 hours of thermal molten salt energy storage.
Solar-thermal tower technology uses sun tracking mirrors that focus the reflected solar radiation onto a central tower where the heat is transferred to molten salts; which then transfer their heat to water. This water is turned to superheated steam which drives a turbine.
Abengoa says it currently has 1,223 MW of installed solar thermal capacity in commercial operation, 430 MW under construction and 320 MW in development.