Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nevada May Become Epicenter for U.S. Solar Development

There may be no better way to turn around a struggling state economy than by promoting renewable energy jobs. So goes the collective mindset of Nevada Senator Harry Reid and U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, as they announced yesterday a plan to bring a solar thermal testing site to the state of Nevada. Construction of the site is set to begin in 2011 and bring thousands of long- and short- term jobs to the state, which currently has a 14 percent unemployment rate, according - Home foreclosures, another economic barometer, are high, too: one in every 79 homes are in foreclosure, according to fox5vegas.

The desert laboratory for testing new solar technologies is scheduled to be built on 25 square miles of the same test site used by the U.S. Government in the 1950’s to test the nation’s nuclear capabilities. The area stands approximately 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. According to several government officials, who spoke to the Las Vegas Sun, the majority of the testing will focus on developing new solar thermal technologies.

This type of solar power setup entails using mirrors to direct the sun’s rays onto a liquid-filled tube or tower. The heat boils the liquid, creating steam that turns a turbine. Much of the new technology developed will focus on creating better ways to store the heat and reduce water consumption.

The testing facility is expected to allow the U.S. to develop and market new solar technology at a faster rate, with the end goal being to drive prices down, which is a key ingredient to the widespread adoption of renewable energy. And if solar is a large part of that renewable energy future, what better place to make the epicenter of it all, says Reid, than Nevada with its 300+ sunny days a year.


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