Solar Thermal Power Tower Company:BrightSource

BrightSource Energy, Inc. designs, develops and sells solar thermal power systems that deliver reliable, clean energy to utilities and industrial companies. The BrightSource Energy team blends internationally-renowned solar thermal technical experience with world-class finance and project development capabilities. BrightSource’s LPT solar thermal system is designed to minimize impact to the environment and help customers reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., BrightSource Energy is a privately held company with operations in the United States and Israel.



   Solar to Steam Demonstration Facility    

  Hidden Hills  

Rio Mesa

Solar Thermal Energy Development Center

BrightSource has approximately 2.6 gigawatts of power under contracts with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric Company, California’s two largest utilities. In addition, the company manages an approximately 100,000 acre development site portfolio in California and the U.S. Southwest that has the potential to accommodate approximately 10 GW of installed capacity. The company’s Solar Energy Development Center in Israel’s Negev Desert is demonstrating BrightSource’s LPT technology and producing the world’s highest temperature and pressure solar thermal steam.

A history of solar expertise

The principal members of their technical team pioneered the first utility-scale solar energy plants nearly three decades ago by designing and developing 354 MW of solar thermal electric power plants, which remain in operation today. In addition, the team has extensive finance and project development expertise, and has collectively developed, constructed, and managed more than 20 gigawatts, or GW, of solar, wind and conventional power projects worldwide. Today, the BrightSource technical team is building on this experience to advance the solar thermal industry by developing and deploying a solar power tower system that provides both higher solar energy conversion efficiencies and lower costs.

Clean, reliable, and cost-competitive energy

BrightSource’s LPT solar thermal technology generates power the same way as traditional power plants – by creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels or nuclear power to create the steam, BrightSource uses the sun’s energy.

BrightSource’s system uses proprietary software to control thousands of tracking mirrors, known as heliostats, to directly concentrate sunlight onto a boiler filled with water that sits atop a tower. When the sunlight hits the boiler, the water inside is heated and creates high temperature steam. Once produced, the steam is used either in a conventional turbine to produce electricity or in industrial process applications, such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). By integrating conventional power block components, such as turbines, with their proprietary technology and state-of-the-art solar field design, projects using BrightSource systems are able to deliver cost-competitive, reliable and clean power when needed most. In addition, by integrating their  technology with natural gas or other fossil fuels through a process referred to as hybridization, projects using these systems are able to further increase output and reliability.

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