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Last night we got an alert from PG&E telling us that they were going to make a “solar energy announcement of international significance,” Wednesday morning in downtown San Francisco. No explanation from them yet on the blackouts that plagued San Francisco yesterday, but they always seem […]

Last night we got an alert from PG&E telling us that they were going to make a “solar energy announcement of international significance,” Wednesday morning in downtown San Francisco. No explanation from them yet on the blackouts that plagued San Francisco yesterday, but they always seem to have time for press conferences. (We’ll update the story from the event.)

Well, the New York Times gives us a heads up on the news — PG&E will announce that it will buy 550 megawatts of solar power, from a solar plant to be built by Israeli company, Solel Solar Systems. Solel will build trough-style thermal solar arrays over 9 miles in the Mojave Desert that will begin producing energy in 2011 or 2012, says the article.

Solel’s solar thermal plants produce electricity by using parabolic trough-like mirrors to focus sun rays to heat fluid and produce steam that drives a turbine or motor engine. GreenWombat has a good writeup on the technology and the deal.

About 12% of PG&E’s electricity comes from renewable energy currently, and the utility has to meet a California mandate to boost that amount to 20% by 2010. Solar thermal is gaining popularity for large-scale electricity needs. Google’s Director of Energy Strategy, Bill Weihl, recently told us that “solar thermal is the best kept secret when it comes to renewable energy.”

PG&E adds this solar thermal plan to its numerous other renewable energy announcements recently. The utility said last month that it will work with utility-scale photovoltaic solar power companies Cleantech America and GreenVolts. Earlier this month it was news that the company had entered into an agreement with PPM Energy, to purchase utility-scale wind power.

OK, so now about those pesky blackouts.

  1. [...] No Comments Posted July 25th, 2007 at 12:38 pm in Energy Israeli solar thermal company Solel just scored a deal with PG&E to build an estimated $2 billion massive solar thermal plant in California’s Mohave Desert. Not a [...]

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  2. Mojave desert is getting crowded.

    How does it compares to the Stirling Energy power plant for Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric? Any update on that project?

    http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/news/2005/11/69528

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  3. I couldn’t understand some parts of this article , but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

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  4. [...] still financially risky. The technology is being built by cleantech startups — like Ausra and Solel, with which PG&E has already cut solar thermal deals — many of whom don’t have [...]

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  5. Considering that PG&E is one of the largest energy corporations in the world, it’s very refreshing to know that they’re finally catching on to the green theme of the new millenium and trying to improve themselves.

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  6. [...] in order to get a 553 MW solar plant built in the California Mojave desert (the company has a deal to sell the power to California utility PG&E). That’s in addition to a 150 MW solar thermal plant the company is building in Spain. With [...]

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  7. [...] Mojave, nor are they alone in selling solar thermal power to PG&E. Last July PG&E agreed to buy 550 megawatts of solar power from Solel’s Mojave plant and in November signed up to buy 177 megawatts from Ausra’s plant near San Luis Obispo, [...]

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  8. Wow, at this rate PG&E is going to be the greenest electric utility company in the world. It’s also signed agreement to purchase 900MW from BrightSource, scheduled for end 2011. One little problem though, the CEO of BrightSource recently announced that he is having trouble raising money for this plant in Mojave, and is counting on Obama’s stimulus plan to get his dough. Hope that works out ok :-) Read more here: http://www.solarpowerhomesblog.net/solar-power-homes/obamas-economic-stimulus-plan-and-its-impact-on-residential-solar-power

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  9. [...] the U.S. West Coast, Solel has built a workforce of more than 500 people over the last 14 years and snagged a deal back in 2007 to sell power generated at its Mojave project to California utility PG&E. The company has been [...]

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