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Coal solar panel

Published on July 3rd, 2008 | by Sarah Lozanova

35

Solar Energy Creating Economic Boom for Nevada

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July 3rd, 2008 by  


solar panel

The American Southwest has some of the best solar resources on the globe. Nevada, with abundant land and sunshine is becoming a hot bed for the solar industry. The result is green jobs and billions of investment dollars.

Solar Panel Manufacturing

The opening of Ausra’s solar thermal power factory earlier this week in Las Vegas is a prime example. As the largest plant of its kind in the world, it employs 50 factory workers. At full capacity, the plant can generate 700 MW of solar panels, which could produce enough power for 500,000 homes. This quantity of panels would create an estimated 1,400 solar plant construction jobs.

The factory will produce giant mirrors and absorber tubes that are used for solar power plants. This technology uses the sun to generate heat and spin turbines, thus creating electricity. The giant mirrors follow the sun and reflect it onto fixed absorber tubes that are mounted above.

“Nevada is poised to be a leader in the clean energy revolution,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). “This facility will help position our state as the premiere place to invest in these new technologies. As the factory expands operations and we continue to invest in clean energy, we’ll create thousands of good-paying jobs and keep our outdoors pristine for future generations.”

Solar Power Plants

Solar projects totaling more than 10,000 MW have land requests from the Bureau of Land Management in Southern Nevada. If constructed, these solar plants would bring over $40 billion of investment to Nevada.

Power plants benefit the economy in the short-term by creating large quantities of construction jobs. In the long-term, they create plant operations jobs, tax revenue, raise property values, and generate income through land leases. A recent example is Acciona’s Nevada Solar One, located in Boulder City, NV.

As the third largest solar concentrated plant in the world, its maximum output is 75 MW of electricity. It generates enough power for 15,000 homes annually and had a cost of $260 million. Operating since June, 2007, there are 300 acres of solar fields. The plant will produce peak power, with nearly zero carbon emissions and created approximately 28 operations related jobs.

Sarah Lozanova is passionate about the new green economy and is a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Energy International Quarterly, ThinkGreen.com, Triple Pundit, Green Business Quarterly, Renewable Energy World, and Green Business Quarterly. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and is a co-founder of Trees Across the Miles, an urban reforestation initiative.

Related Posts on Solar Thermal Electricity

Solar Thermal Electricity: Can It Replace Coal, Gas, and Oil?

Molten Salt May Be Solution to Solar Energy Storage

MIT Team Plays With Fire to Create Cheap Energy

Photo: Ausra’s facility in New South Wales, Australia. Courtesy Ausra.

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About the Author

is passionate about the new green economy and renewable energy. Sarah's experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and is a co-founder of Trees Across the Miles, an urban reforestation initiative. When she can escape the internet vortex, she enjoys playing in the forest, paddling down rivers, or twisting into yoga poses.



  • Lauren@GreenGlobalTravel

    Go Nevada! Congratz for taking the high road and going green. Thanks for posting

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  • president

    Well Nevada has enough sun so why not take advantage of it. Florida, Texas, and the Southwest are also candidates.

  • president

    Well Nevada has enough sun so why not take advantage of it. Florida, Texas, and the Southwest are also candidates.

  • Uncle B

    If the U.S. had chosen to be a moral people, and leaving Iraqi oil alone, and following Al Gore, decided to develop the South Western deserts, with the technology of the times – solar/thermal-molten sodium – electricity installations, for the same amount of money as that war cost, ($650 Billion), today, we would be tapping into the largest, renewable, sustainable, energy source the world has ever known. It would have paid every energy bill in the U.S.A. for maintenance fees only – FOREVER! It would be equivalent to an oil field that can NEVER run dry! Low cost electric power, and storeable hydrogen gasoline replacement from the electricity, for all!

    After the millions of murders, and $650 billions of dollars, borrowed from our children’s futures and pissed away, with thousands of our own and others maimed and disfigured for life, millions of families utterly destroyed, ours and theirs, we are no closer to Iraqi oil production than the Iraqis are!

    The next time you hear a blithering idiot spoiled brat, drunken, drug addicted, sociopath, rich Arabic saber dancing daddie’s boy oilman, stand at a microphone and threaten YOUR safety with someone ELSE’S weapons, remember what you lost America, remember, and weep! (also see http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan)

  • Uncle B

    If the U.S. had chosen to be a moral people, and leaving Iraqi oil alone, and following Al Gore, decided to develop the South Western deserts, with the technology of the times – solar/thermal-molten sodium – electricity installations, for the same amount of money as that war cost, ($650 Billion), today, we would be tapping into the largest, renewable, sustainable, energy source the world has ever known. It would have paid every energy bill in the U.S.A. for maintenance fees only – FOREVER! It would be equivalent to an oil field that can NEVER run dry! Low cost electric power, and storeable hydrogen gasoline replacement from the electricity, for all!

    After the millions of murders, and $650 billions of dollars, borrowed from our children’s futures and pissed away, with thousands of our own and others maimed and disfigured for life, millions of families utterly destroyed, ours and theirs, we are no closer to Iraqi oil production than the Iraqis are!

    The next time you hear a blithering idiot spoiled brat, drunken, drug addicted, sociopath, rich Arabic saber dancing daddie’s boy oilman, stand at a microphone and threaten YOUR safety with someone ELSE’S weapons, remember what you lost America, remember, and weep! (also see http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan)

  • candelight

    If the casinos is gonna run on solar power only, then I guess no guest are aloud to enter when the sun is gone :)

    But hey, some genius is working on panels and some G’s are working on generators, alternators or in some form a rotational power supply to take care of no peak hours.

    Who knows if we ever go down in low voltage form some day, this is pretty bright to know that we all should throw out the ol’bulb and put in the new spiral whatchamacallit bulb.

    It would not kill you if you had a skill to learn how to take combat showers instead of the hour you spend in that little bathtub filled to the brim with re-circulated hot water you call Jacuzzi :)

    How about – This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine – sounds good doesnt it?

  • candelight

    If the casinos is gonna run on solar power only, then I guess no guest are aloud to enter when the sun is gone :)

    But hey, some genius is working on panels and some G’s are working on generators, alternators or in some form a rotational power supply to take care of no peak hours.

    Who knows if we ever go down in low voltage form some day, this is pretty bright to know that we all should throw out the ol’bulb and put in the new spiral whatchamacallit bulb.

    It would not kill you if you had a skill to learn how to take combat showers instead of the hour you spend in that little bathtub filled to the brim with re-circulated hot water you call Jacuzzi :)

    How about – This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine – sounds good doesnt it?

  • shel burtner

    Simple questions

    assume the sun provides peak power from 10am to 4pm.(8 hours)

    Question,what produces the power needed between 4pm and 8am (16 hours)??????

    Question, what produces the power when there is 100% cloud cover for several days ????

  • shel burtner

    Simple questions

    assume the sun provides peak power from 10am to 4pm.(8 hours)

    Question,what produces the power needed between 4pm and 8am (16 hours)??????

    Question, what produces the power when there is 100% cloud cover for several days ????

  • zacks dad

    Zack, it is THE sustainable source of energy.

  • zacks dad

    Zack, it is THE sustainable source of energy.

  • http://is.gd/Fo2 web design

    “…And boom goes the dynamite.” I mean, solar industry.

  • http://is.gd/Fo2 web design

    “…And boom goes the dynamite.” I mean, solar industry.

  • talkintozack

    Zack. You are Wrong.

    First of all, this is solar thermal we’re talking about, not photovoltaics. It is commonly understood by engineers that one hundred square miles of solar thermal would replace all the energy requirements of the entire United States producing the energy equivalent of both the electricity and transportation needs of the country. So, you’re wrong.

    Now a hundred square miles is a lot of land, but it sure isn’t the entire United States. The total land area of the United States is 3.7 million square miles. So you’re not only wrong, you’re off by a factor of about 370 times.

    Furthermore, solar thermal is old school guaranteed technology. It’s just glass mirrors. They’ve been around for at least six hundred years and possibly longer. In fact, they were used for generating electricity even back in the nineteenth century in Egypt when oil was still first being extracted and was relatively costly as it has again become a hundred years later.

    Solar thermal is still here a century later and it still works. In fact, thanks to cheap electronics and better materials, it’s far more efficient than it was back then despite still being more or less the same basic hundred year old design. Solar thermal works, it’s cheap, it’s abundant, it’s green, it’s domestically managed and a source of jobs.

    There’s nothing not to like and making up reasons just to be cynical is an un-American thing to do. Zack, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

  • talkintozack

    Zack. You are Wrong.

    First of all, this is solar thermal we’re talking about, not photovoltaics. It is commonly understood by engineers that one hundred square miles of solar thermal would replace all the energy requirements of the entire United States producing the energy equivalent of both the electricity and transportation needs of the country. So, you’re wrong.

    Now a hundred square miles is a lot of land, but it sure isn’t the entire United States. The total land area of the United States is 3.7 million square miles. So you’re not only wrong, you’re off by a factor of about 370 times.

    Furthermore, solar thermal is old school guaranteed technology. It’s just glass mirrors. They’ve been around for at least six hundred years and possibly longer. In fact, they were used for generating electricity even back in the nineteenth century in Egypt when oil was still first being extracted and was relatively costly as it has again become a hundred years later.

    Solar thermal is still here a century later and it still works. In fact, thanks to cheap electronics and better materials, it’s far more efficient than it was back then despite still being more or less the same basic hundred year old design. Solar thermal works, it’s cheap, it’s abundant, it’s green, it’s domestically managed and a source of jobs.

    There’s nothing not to like and making up reasons just to be cynical is an un-American thing to do. Zack, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

  • Sarah Lozanova

    Zack- According to Ausra.com, 92 miles by 92 miles is needed to power the entire U.S., day and night using existing solar thermal technology. I would think that as technology advances, even less land area would be needed.

  • http://www.find-green.info/search/solar-energy-courses solar education

    Hope is always welcomed! Hats off to Nevada for being ground zero for the solar boom!! Not only is there hope for the solution to our energy/oil crisis, but they are offering solutions for the environmentally aware as well as creating jobs which is another field of education, and let’s not forget how this could pull out our economy!!

    Again, my vote (as usual) is let us embrace change for the good!!!

  • http://www.find-green.info/search/solar-energy-courses solar education

    Hope is always welcomed! Hats off to Nevada for being ground zero for the solar boom!! Not only is there hope for the solution to our energy/oil crisis, but they are offering solutions for the environmentally aware as well as creating jobs which is another field of education, and let’s not forget how this could pull out our economy!!

    Again, my vote (as usual) is let us embrace change for the good!!!

  • zack

    It’s not a sustainable source of energy. Sure that supplies 500,000 homes, but the amount of solar panels that would be needed to supply the world (factories, public buildings, coliseums, etc.) would take up way to much land.

  • zack

    It’s not a sustainable source of energy. Sure that supplies 500,000 homes, but the amount of solar panels that would be needed to supply the world (factories, public buildings, coliseums, etc.) would take up way to much land.

  • Joe Spreitzer

    likwidshoe you seem to live in a communist country where the government owns everything and you own nothing. I live in America where the people own public lands and BLM only manages them. BLM does not nor ever will own them.

  • Joe Spreitzer

    likwidshoe you seem to live in a communist country where the government owns everything and you own nothing. I live in America where the people own public lands and BLM only manages them. BLM does not nor ever will own them.

  • Sarah Lozanova

    Kilgore- That BLM actually overturned this a couple days ago.

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/jul/02/solar-application-moratorium-called-off/

  • Kilgore Trout

    Yeah but guess what? The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)has just refused to take any more proposals for new projects on public land. The oil industry paymasters have shut down the solar industry in one fell swoop. Solar power will not be allowed to cut into the their profits period. What a government we have if you can call it that.

  • Kilgore Trout

    Yeah but guess what? The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)has just refused to take any more proposals for new projects on public land. The oil industry paymasters have shut down the solar industry in one fell swoop. Solar power will not be allowed to cut into the their profits period. What a government we have if you can call it that.

  • http://sayanythingblog.com likwidshoe

    Joe Spreitzer – you seem to have the idea that we live in a communist state where everybody owns everything.

  • http://sayanythingblog.com likwidshoe

    Joe Spreitzer – you seem to have the idea that we live in a communist state where everybody owns everything.

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  • Joe Spreitzer

    This is wonderful news what with all the public lands being leased. I can’t wait for my yearly check to be mailed to me from these leases. How much is each person in the USA going to receive? Whats that you say even with the public lands being leased in Alaska to the Oil Companies that no one will ever receive one red cent. It sounds like the public is being robbed.

  • Joe Spreitzer

    This is wonderful news what with all the public lands being leased. I can’t wait for my yearly check to be mailed to me from these leases. How much is each person in the USA going to receive? Whats that you say even with the public lands being leased in Alaska to the Oil Companies that no one will ever receive one red cent. It sounds like the public is being robbed.

  • http://www.mailinator.com Jusme

    SouthWest USA is like the Middle East for Solar power, beaten only by the, eh, Middle East. (North Africa) But here we have an interesting combination:

    1) Lots of sunlight

    2) Lots of open, uninhabited land

    3) Clear/sunny weather year-round

    4) Lots of wealthy people nearby. (California and Texas)

    The sooner that the United States realizes the power of solar power, the better off it will be.

  • http://www.mailinator.com Jusme

    SouthWest USA is like the Middle East for Solar power, beaten only by the, eh, Middle East. (North Africa) But here we have an interesting combination:

    1) Lots of sunlight

    2) Lots of open, uninhabited land

    3) Clear/sunny weather year-round

    4) Lots of wealthy people nearby. (California and Texas)

    The sooner that the United States realizes the power of solar power, the better off it will be.

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