Rice Solar Energy Project

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Rice Solar Energy Project
Rice Solar Energy Project is located in California
Rice Solar Energy Project
Location of Rice Solar Energy Project
Country United States
Location Riverside County, California
Coordinates 34°4′N 114°48′W / 34.067°N 114.800°W / 34.067; -114.800Coordinates: 34°4′N 114°48′W / 34.067°N 114.800°W / 34.067; -114.800[1]
Status Proposed
Construction began 2014 (planned)
Commission date 2016 (planned)
Construction cost $750 million
Solar farm
Type CSP
CSP technology Solar power tower
Power generation
Nameplate capacity 150 MW
Capacity factor 34%
Annual generation 450 GW·h[2]

The Rice Solar Energy Project is a 150 MW concentrating solar power facility project to be developed in Riverside County, California, the United States.[3] Proposed by Rice Solar, a subsidiary of SolarReserve, the thermal power tower facility will be located on 1,410 acres (570 ha) of private land on the site of the former Rice Army Airfield, near the abandoned town of Rice, California.[3] The project's innovative molten salt storage system will capture solar energy and deliver power to the grid even after the sun goes down. The facility is "expected to power 68,000 homes, create up to 450 construction jobs, and generate more than $48 million in state and local tax revenue over the first 10 years of operation".[4]


The project is developed by Rice Solar Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of SolarReserve, LLC. The facility will consist of about 17,000 heliostats[1] focused onto a central receiver tower with an overall height of 653 feet (199 m),[5] and an integrated thermal storage system, which uses molten salt, a mixture of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate, as heat carrier.[2][6] The power plant will be located on 1,410 acres (570 ha) of previously disturbed private land.[4]

The project has undergone extensive environmental review and has mitigated potential environmental impacts. SolarReserve will fund the acquisition and enhancement of 1,522 acres (616 ha) to compensate for impacts to desert tortoise habitat on private and public land.[4]

In December 2011, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar approved a transmission line, access road and substation on public lands that will connect the Rice project to the power grid in California.[4]

In January 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved SolarReserve's amended 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).[7]


  1. ^ a b "Rice Solar Energy Project". Concentrating Solar Power Projects. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). December 3, 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Rice Solar Energy Project - Power Plant Licensing Case". California Energy Commission. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  3. ^ a b "Rice Solar Energy Project: Notice of Proposed Power Plant". California Energy Commission. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  4. ^ a b c d States News Service (12/09/2011). "Secretary Salazar approves transmission for solar thermal power tower project". Power Engineering.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Rice Solar. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Liggett, Brit (2010-12-16). "California's First Molten Salt Solar Energy Project Gets Green Light". Inhabitat.com. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  7. ^ "SolarReserve Project Receives Unanimous Approval From California Public Utilities" (Press release). SolarReserve. January 28, 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 

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