The Crescent Dunes concentrating solar thermal project is a 110 MW plant located near Tonopah, Nevada.

The Crescent Dunes concentrating solar thermal project is a 110 MW plant located near Tonopah, Nevada. Once completed, it will power up to 75,000 homes during peak electricity periods.


Project Overview


  • 110 MW solar thermal power tower plant utilizing the advanced molten salt power tower technology with integrated storage.

  • 25-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy to sell 100 percent of the electricity generated by the power plant.

  • When completed, the concentrated solar power (CSP) facility will supply approximately 500,000 megawatt hours annually of clean, renewable electricity, enough to power 75,000 homes during peak electricity periods.

  • Closed financing in September 2011, including a $737 million loan from the Department of Energy and private financing from SolarReserve, ACS Cobra and Santander.

  • Construction began in September 2011.

  • Under the CSP project’s unique development agreement with Nye County, SolarReserve has committed to filling 90 percent of the construction jobs with Nevada residents, utilizing both union and non-union subcontractors.

  • The project is expected to be completed in late 2013.


Key Project Benefits:


  • Advances U.S. clean energy technology with the most advanced energy storage project providing clean energy, day or night.

  • The energy storage inherent in the technology provides a stable and flexible electricity product to better meet Nevada’s peak demand profile and improve grid stability.

  • Helps meet growing demand for clean, renewable energy sources.

  • Will significantly reduce the use of water for cooling by using an efficient, low-water hybrid cooling system.


Job Creation


SolarReserve’s construction of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project will create approximately 4,300 direct, indirect and induced jobs, including more than 600 construction jobs during a 30-month period. The project will also bring additional tax revenues as well as secondary/induced economic activity to the region. During operations, the project will expend more than $10 million per year in salaries and operating costs, and is forecasted to generate $47 million in total tax revenues through the first 10 years of operation. In addition, the Crescent Dunes Project Development Agreement requires that 90 percent of the project’s construction workforce will be Nevada residents.



Development and construction


600 jobs skilled and semi-skilled labor, 90% Nevada residents




Operations phase


45 full-time, permanent jobs




Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne


120 to 130 engineering/technical positions retained






35 management and engineering jobs




Indirectly induced1


4,300 indirectly induced jobs in the supply chain including manufacturing, value-added services and transport of the equipment





Domestic Economic Impacts


Tax Revenues: Project forecasted to generate $37 million in total tax revenues over the first ten years of operation.
Capital Investment: Project will generate in excess of $750 million private capital cost investment in Nevada.


Reliable, Non-Variable Power Generation


Not only is the sun an unlimited fuel source, but it also provides the cleanest form of energy available at any scale. The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project utilizes energy storage, which provides operating stability for the electricity grid and a cost-effective way to meet Nevada’s peak electricity demand profile.


Clean and Secure Domestic Energy


The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project will reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil energy supplies, producing enough solar energy in one year equivalent to about one-fourth of the total output of Hoover Dam. The project uses a hybrid cooling power system so that water use is at a strict minimum in this important desert ecosystem. Solar-only energy avoids greenhouse gas emissions produced by a mid-sized fossil-fueled power plant.


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