BrightSource Energy Inc., a solar thermal technology company, says it has filed an application for certification with the California Energy Commission for the development of a 500 MW solar development project – comprising two 250 MW plants – in California's Inyo County. The installation, called the Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS), will use BrightSource's LPT technology.
The proposed project site is located on 3,280 acres of privately owned land adjacent to the California-Nevada border. The site is located approximately 18 miles south of Pahrump, Nev., and 45 miles west of Las Vegas.
BrightSource's LPT technology is designed to minimize impacts on the natural environment. The new plant design at the Hidden Hills SEGS will feature a taller tower that allows for greater concentration of heliostats, significantly reducing the amount of land required to produce energy, the company says.
Additionally, BrightSource will place mirrors on individual poles that are placed directly into the ground, which the company says will allow the solar field to be built around the natural contours of the land and avoid areas of sensitive vegetation.
For utility-scale solar projects of similar capacity, the configuration that the project will use reduces land use by 33% or more compared to a typical photovoltaic farm and parabolic-trough solar thermal plant, according to BrightSource Energy.