SolarReserve, a U.S. developer of large-scale solar power projects, recently announced it has received its final 1041 Permit from the Saguache County Board of County Commissioners for its two 100 megawatt solar thermal energy facilities. The project is located on private agricultural land about six miles northeast of the Town of Center in Saguache County, Colorado. When completed, each facility will supply approximately 450,000 megawatt hours annually of clean, reliable electricity - enough to power a total of more than 140,000 homes during peak electricity periods.
Double output, stable supply
SolarReserve will utilize its innovative solar energy storage technology that would enable these projects to generate twice as much electricity as would be generated from comparably sized photovoltaic or direct steam solar thermal facilities. The Saguache Solar Energy Project will have the capacity to store up to 15 hours of solar energy, providing the ability to generate significantly more electricity than other solar technologies.
Electricity on demand
The energy storage aspect allows electricity to be provided on demand, even after the sun goes down or during cloudy periods. This energy storage capability provides a stable and predictable electricity supply that allows the utility to shift solar power generation to meet its peak demand and can replace conventional power generators that produce harmful emissions from burning coal, natural gas and oil. Energy storage also allows the project to more efficiently utilize the electrical transmission assets in the San Luis Valley, and a fully-dispatchable steam turbine will contribute much-needed reliability and stability to the local electric grid.
Projected jobs and tax revenue
The project will also create more than 450 direct jobs per facility at the peak of the 30-month construction period, as well as 45-50 permanent operations and maintenance jobs for each of the two power plants. In addition, the two-facility project has an annual operating budget estimated at more than $10 million for salaries and maintenance and is forecasted to generate more than $30 million in sales and property tax revenues over the project's operating period - contributing to workers' paychecks, service businesses, local school systems and police and fire departments.