Massive Stirling Solar System Seeks Cali Approval

This week, Stirling Energy Systems submitted an application for certification (AFC) to California’s regulatory body, the California Energy Commission (CEC), for a planned 850 MW solar power plant, dubbed “Solar One,” in the Mojave Desert. This is the second large solar application the startup’s submitted this year — in June, Stirling handed in an application for a 750 MW solar plant, named “Solar Two,” that the CEC deemed “data adequate” in October.

While the CEC still needs to approve these projects, Stirling is at least a few steps closer to starting construction of the solar plants. If Solar One is approved, construction is supposed to start in late 2010 and take 40 months to complete, while construction of Solar Two could start in late 2009 or early 2010 and could also take around 40 months to complete. Solar One would be built on 8,230 acres of land in San Bernardino County, Calif., use 30,000, 25-kilowatt solar dishes, and will sell power to California utility Southern California Edison. Solar Two will use 6,500 acres of land in Imperial County, Calif., 30,000 25-kilowatt solar dishes and sell power to San Diego Gas & Electric.

In April Phoenix-based Stirling raised $100 million from Dublin, Ireland’s NTR, and in the process NTR took a 52-percent stake in the company, according to the Cleantech Group. Stirling’s technology, unlike most of the utility-scale solar providers, uses a combination of solar thermal concentration devices and engines to produce clean power.

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