Solar 1 and 2 in the United States

Howard Hayden estimates Solar Two would need to take up 127 square miles to produce as much energy as a 1000-MWe power plant does in one year. (Solar Fraud, p. 187).

According to Robert Bradley Jr, Solar One was very disappointing. This solar thermal 10-megawatt project was mainly funded by the Dept of Energy and run by Southern California Edison for high demand periods. It closed in 1988 after six years. The facility was so experimental and expensive that no cost per kwh was publicly revealed (Robert Bradley, Conversation with Mark Skowronski, former project director, Solar One Project, Southern California Edison, January 19, 1996). Robert Bradley. Why Renewable Energy is not cheap and not green. NCPA.

Here’s what Bradley has to say about Solar Two, a $48 million, 10-megawatt demonstration project that began producing electricity in 1996: “In place of a parabolic dish, this project uses a receiver tower where the concentrated heat from the field mirrors (called heliostats) is converted to electricity. Its $4,000 per kilowatt installed cost — which would have been as much as $14,000 more per kilowatt if Solar One’s equipment had not been utilized — is still between five and 10 times greater than a gas-fired plant under current technology. An annual operating cost of $3 million virtually ensures a shutdown in 1999, the year federal subsidies are scheduled to terminate”. Robert Bradley. Why Renewable Energy is not cheap and not green. NCPA.

“Solar Two looks good on paper, and it is expected to provide steady baseload electricity as well as late afternoon peaking capacity, but the future of all the central solar generators is in doubt. They are expensive to build, their very scale escalates financial risks — as with nuclear power — and their massive height (in excess of 200 meters) may attract opposition”. Christopher Flavin and Nicholas Lenssen, Power Surge, p. 143.

Solar Two took up quite a bit of land for the power being generated. There were 1,900 mirrored panels, each one over 100 square yards, and the results were only one megawatt per 17 acres of capacity. A natural gas facility taking up that much space would generate 150 times as much power. Robert Bradley. Why Renewable Energy is not cheap and not green. NCPA.

Central-station solar requires between five and 17 acres per megawatt, and more than 1,000 times the material of a gas-fired power plant. A 1,000 MW solar plant needs 35,000 tons of aluminum, 2 million tons of concrete, 7,500 tons of copper, 600,000 tons of steel, 75,000 tons of glass, 1,500 tons of chromium and titanium, and other materials. The energy that goes into the construction of a solar thermal-electric plant is, in fact, so large that it raises serious questions of whether the energy will ever be paid back. (Petr Beckmann. 1979. Why “Soft” Technology Will Not Be America’s Energy Salvation (Golem Press), p. 6).

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