NTR’s Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems Unveil World’s First Commercial Scale SunCatcher™ Plant, Maricopa Solar
NTR plc, the international renewable energy group, today announced the official opening of the Maricopa Solar power plant in Phoenix, Arizona. Only four months after breaking ground, NTR’s Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) showcased the highly anticipated Maricopa Solar power plant today at a special event for key partners, stakeholders and media. Maricopa Solar is the first commercial project for the SunCatcher™ concentrating solar power (CSP) technology designed and manufactured by SES. Joining in the celebration were Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and officials from Salt River Project (SRP), local and state government, the U.S. Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, utility customers and suppliers.
“This is a significant milestone for our solar businesses,” said Jim Barry, Chief Executive, NTR plc. “We are pleased that following our initial investment in April 2008, the hard work and commitment of the Tessera Solar and SES management teams has resulted in the first commercial scale SunCatcher™ generated solar power plant and the achievement of one of NTR’s key strategic investment goals. With this milestone now behind us, we look forward to breaking ground on our initial 1,500 megawatts of projects in California and Texas later this year.”
Maricopa Solar demonstrates that Dish Stirling solar power is now ready for commercial deployment in the US and around the world. The 60 SunCatcher™ dishes will provide 1.5 megawatts of renewable energy to SRP customers in Greater Phoenix, Arizona. The innovative and highly-efficient SES SunCatcher is a 25-kilowatt solar power system which uses a 38-foot, mirrored parabolic dish combined with an automatic tracking system to collect and focus the sun’s energy onto a Stirling engine to convert the solar thermal energy into grid-quality electricity.
SunCatcher has a number of advantages including the highest solar-to-grid electric efficiency, zero water use for power production, a modular and scalable design, low capital cost, and minimal land disturbance. SunCatcher was designed and developed in America, through a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. The SunCatchers unveiled at Maricopa Solar were manufactured and assembled, mostly in Michigan, by automotive suppliers.
High-volume manufacturing of the SunCatcher begins in Summer 2010 and Tessera Solar breaks ground on utility-scale projects late this year in California and Texas. Imperial Valley is a 750 MW project with the first 300MW contracted under a power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric near El Centro, California; Calico is a 850 MW project with Southern California Edison near Barstow, California; and Western Ranch is a 27 MW project with CPS Energy in West Texas. Manufacturing of SunCatcher components and construction of these projects will create up to 4,000 jobs in the near term, both in the Midwest, where SES’s automotive supply chain base originates, and in the Southwest where projects will be developed.
About NTR plc
NTR plc, the international renewable energy group, builds and runs green energy and resource-sustaining businesses. Founded in 1978, NTR has evolved from being a developer and operator of infrastructure in Ireland to an international developer and operator of renewable energy (wind, solar and ethanol) and sustainable waste management businesses in the USA, UK, and Ireland. The company employs over 4,100 people.
About Stirling Energy Systems (SES Inc.)
Stirling Energy Systems (SES) is the global supplier of the SunCatcher™ solar dish engine system, the latest innovation in modular Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), and next generation of grid-quality, solar-electric power generation. The SES SunCatcherTM combines a mirrored concentrator dish with a high-efficiency Stirling engine to track, collect and convert the sun’s thermal energy to grid-quality electricity. The SunCatcherTM technology has significant advantages over other CSP technology including zero water use for power production, minimal impact to the environment, the highest electric efficiency and cost competitiveness. Founded in 1996, the company maintains corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, and engineering and test site operations at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. NTR owns a controlling stake in SES Inc.
About Tessera Solar
Tessera Solar is the exclusive developer/owner/operator of utility-scale solar power facilities using the SunCatcher™ solar power system, manufactured by our sister company Stirling Energy Systems (SES Inc.), headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. Tessera Solar North America is headquartered in Houston, Texas, with offices in Scottsdale, Arizona and Berkeley, California. Tessera Solar International is headquartered in London, England. NTR plc is the parent company of Tessera Solar and SES.
About Salt River Project (SRP)
Salt River Project is the third-largest public power utility in the country and serves more than 930,000 electric customers through a variety of resources including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectricity. In 2004, SRP’s Board of Directors voted to require that 15 percent of the energy generated comes from sustainable resources by 2025. Today, SRP’s sustainable portfolio is 6.5 percent of the total power provided to our customers.
About Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.
Source: NTR plc