A group of southwestern US utility companies are working on plans to potentially build a 250MW power plant that harnesses the power of the sun. The plant would probably be based on solar trough technology instead of photo-voltaics, and could produce enough electricity for 160,000 to 200,000 homes. Currently there is a small scale solar trough plant supplying power to 200 homes in Tucson, Arizona.

The solar trough setup uses arrays of parabolic mirrors that can track the sun across the sky. The mirrors focus the sunlight on a tube at their focus point that is filled with mineral oil that is heated to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot oil is passed through a heat exchanger to produce steam that drives a electric turbine. The group hopes to get all the approvals to build the facility by early next year.

[Source: TreeHugger]

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