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Published on July 7th, 2009 | by Jennifer Kho

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Saying It With Solar: eSolar's Independence Day Display

July 7th, 2009 by  


Solar is already a source of power. Now some hope solar projects’ striking appearance can also make them a powerful marketing tool.

For the Fourth of July, concentrating solar-thermal startup eSolar programmed a quarter square mile of mirrors in Lancaster, Calif., to form the American flag and the Statue of Liberty.

The point? To celebrate Independence Day, and to help lobby for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, which would enact a carbon cap-and-trade program and other emission-reduction measures if approved and signed into law. The House of Representatives passed the controversial bill last month, and the Senate is now considering it.

This isn’t the first time eSolar has used its solar farm as a huge display tool. The company programmed its mirrors to wish its founder, Bill Gross, a happy birthday last year.

The company also is putting its panels to more serious use, of course. Last month, eSolar announced plans to build two 92-megawatt plants, in New Mexico and California, to help supply utilities with electricity. It also is developing a 245-megawatt solar thermal plant for Rosemead, Calif.-based utility Southern California Edison.

The flag-waving display took place at eSolar’s 5-megawatt Sierra demonstration project. The company, which last month said the project had begun producing steam, tells me it expects to officially open the plant and connect it to the grid in August.

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About the Author

-- With more than nine years of reporting experience, Jennifer Kho has been covering green technology since 2004, when she started the cleantech beat at Red Herring magazine. She wrote for Red Herring until 2007, when she helped launch the Greentech Media site as its founding editor. She left Greentech Media in November. Her stories have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and TheStreet.com. She also regularly contributes to Earth2Tech.



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