SolarReserve has completed construction and begun commissioning activities at its 110 MW Crescent Dunes concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the U.S. state of Nevada.

SolarReserve LLC (Santa Monica, California, U.S.) has completed construction and begun commissioning activities at its 110 MW Crescent Dunes concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the U.S. state of Nevada. Full commercial operation is expected later in 2014.

The Crescent Dunes plant incorporates molten salt thermal energy storage. Due to the design of the storage system, SolarReserve expects the plant to generate more than 500 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity annually, more than double the per-watt performance of a typical solar photovoltaic (PV) plant.

“Start of commissioning of the Crescent Dunes solar power plant marks a critical milestone for the project as well as the solar industry,” said SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith. “We are now able to build utility-scale power plants, fueled only by the sun, which operate on-demand, day and night, just like traditional fossil fuel or nuclear power plants.”

“SolarReserve’s industry-leading solar thermal energy storage technology solves the intermittency issue that limits the use of other renewable energy projects and thus enables firm, reliable delivery of electricity whether or not the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.”

SolarReserve is currently energizing the utility interconnection system and other electrical systems, and is in the first stages of  testing and calibration of the heliostat (mirror) field. Full commissioning activities will include start-up of the demineralized water, air, steam, cooling and other systems.

Crescent Dunes incorporates a dry-cooled condenser in a hybrid configuration to reduce water use to levels well below those of conventional power plants. Most CSP plants currently under construction in the United States utilizes dry-cooled technologies, as this greatly minimizes water use.