Nevada goes solar
Apr 23, 2008 - The Associated Press
Thanks to two big solar projects, Nevada ranked
second only to California in solar power development
last year, the Solar Energy Industry Association
The two generators were the 64-megawatt Nevada
Solar One project at Boulder City and the 14-megawatt
solar panel array installed at Nellis Air Force Base
Together, the solar projects added 78.6 megawatts
in solar-generation capacity for Nevada last year
while 87.1 megawatts were added for California. The
trade group did not have figures for total capacity
in the two states.
Photovoltaic systems, like those installed at Nellis,
rely on silicon panels to convert sunlight into electricity.
Solar thermal plants like Nevada Solar One use the
heat of the sun to boil a liquid that creates steam
to spin electricity-generating turbines.
The prospect of selling electricity from solar thermal
plants to California and other surrounding states
represents a big opportunity for Nevada, said Monique
Hanis, a spokeswoman for the solar energy trade group.
"You're poised to be a net exporter of solar
energy," Hanis said. "Nevada is just poised
for tremendous growth."
Ausra of Palo Alto, Calif., is building a concentrating
solar power manufacturing plant near McCarran International
Airport. It will use the facility to build solar
power components for its own projects and for those
Nationally, 245 megawatts of solar power were installed
last year. Concentrating solar rose 18 percent with
the completion of Nevada Solar One, the first utility-scale
plant of that type since 1991. Photovoltaic systems
that are linked to utility grids grew by 45 percent.
Analysts attribute solar energy growth partially
to tax credits, which end this year. Three bills
now pending in Congress, however, would extend the
credit for several years.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com