Southwest Solar Technologies Inc. announced today that it has commissioned the largest commercial solar thermal dish in North America, one of the largest in the world.
The solar dish concentrator is used as part of the Company’s dish-turbine solar power system for generating electricity. The dish structure is currently in routine daily operational testing at the Southwest Solar Research Park, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Approximately 75 ft in diameter, the dish has a solar collection area of over 320 square meters, making it over three times larger than other solar dishes currently used for commercial power production. The Company projects that this will give it the capability to generate three times the power of other dish designs, which will result in higher capacity and fewer dish units per acre for the comparable power production.
The size of the dish is designed to optimize the turbine generator that the Company is developing in conjunction with Brayton Energy LLC of Hampton, New Hampshire. Prior efforts by others to use turbines on solar dishes have not yet been commercially successful in part because the efficiency and the costs of turbines are less favorable at smaller turbine and dish size.
The Company’s current activities include detailed operational testing of the dish and the key components for the turbine generator. In the second half of the year, plans are to begin initial power-output testing of the combined new system, which will be powered by the sun.
Southwest Solar Technologies, established in 2008, operates at the Southwest Solar Research Park in Phoenix. Its solar dish-turbine concept was initially launched under support by the U.S. Department of Energy. The product is designed to deliver a renewable energy solution where requirements are non-intermittent power, low water use, and scalability.