Today NRG Energy announced that it signed an agreement with eSolar to develop solar thermal power plants with a total generation capacity of up to 500 megawatts (MW) at sites in California and the Southwest. In addition, NRG will invest approximately $10 million for equity and associated development rights for three projects on sites in south central California and the Southwest US and a portfolio of power purchase agreements (PPAs) to develop, build, own and operate up to 11 eSolar modular solar generating units at these sites.
eSolar, an Idealab company based in Pasadena, California, produces modular, scalable solar thermal power plants that are designed to address the complex issues involved in large or utility-scale power projects. The company is currently completing its first commercial demonstration concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in Southern California. The facility will be the first fully functioning solar thermal power tower plant built in the United States.
"This is NRG's first venture into solar power and it brings an exceptionally important component to the low- and no-carbon focus of our RepoweringNRG program," said Michael Liebelson, Chief Development Officer Low Carbon Technology for NRG Energy. "By coupling NRG's construction capabilities and regional operating expertise with eSolar's innovative CSP technology, we can advance NRG's renewable energy portfolio while helping to accelerate development of these important projects on a commercial scale."
"eSolar's breakthrough modular power plants use more software and less steel to allow solar energy to be competitive with fossil fuels for the first time ever," said Bill Gross, CEO of eSolar. "NRG Energy's extensive project skills and focus on advancing a diverse portfolio of energy generation technology will help accelerate the deployment of eSolar's CSP technology in locations across the US."
For more information:
- NRG Energy – Home page
- eSolar – Home page
- NRG Energy, Inc. to Develop Up To 500 Megawatts of Solar Thermal Power Plants using eSolar Technology (February 23, 2009)
- eSolar Receives $130 Million in Funding (Green VC, April 22, 2008)
- eSolar Announces Breakthrough Pre-Fabricated Solar Power Plants (PDF) (April 21, 2008)
- Google.org Announces Philanthropy Focus Areas; Includes Climate Change (includes reference to prior eSolar funding) (Green VC, January 18, 2008)