Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project

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Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project
Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project is located in Nevada
Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project
Location of Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project
Country United States
Location Tonopah, Nye County, Nevada
Coordinates 38°14′N 117°22′W / 38.233°N 117.367°W / 38.233; -117.367Coordinates: 38°14′N 117°22′W / 38.233°N 117.367°W / 38.233; -117.367
Status Under construction
Construction began 2011
Commission date May 2014 (estimate)
Construction cost about $0.9 billion
Owner(s) Tonopah Solar Energy, LLC (SolarReserve, LLC)
Solar farm
Type CSP
CSP technology Solar power tower
Heliostats 17,500 × 62.4 m² (1.1 km²)
Site area 1,600 acres (6 km2)
Power generation
Make and model Alstom
Capacity factor 52%
Annual generation about 500 GW·h
The solar tower under construction as seen from a commercial airliner. The eponymous Crescent Dunes are at lower right.

The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, is a 110 megawatt (MW) solar thermal power project under construction near Tonopah, about 190 miles (310 km) northwest of Las Vegas.[1] The project is being developed by SolarReserve through its subsidiary, Tonopah Solar Energy.[2] The project is anticipated to cost less than $1 billion.[3]

The project includes 17,500 heliostat mirrors that collect and focus the sun's thermal energy to heat molten salt flowing through an approximately 540-foot (160 m) tall solar power tower. The molten salt circulates from the tower to a storage tank, where it is then used to produce steam and generate electricity. Excess thermal energy is stored in the molten salt and can be used to generate power for up to ten hours, including during the evening hours and when direct sunlight is not available.[1]

Under a power purchase agreement (PPA) between SolarReserve and NV Energy, all power generated by the Crescent Dunes project in the next 25 years will be sold to Nevada Power Company for $0.135 per kilowatt-hour.[3] In late September, Tonopah received a $737 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).[1]

Ground was broken on the project September 1, 2011.[4] Construction is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2014, commercial operation planned to begin in summer 2014.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "DOE Finalizes $737 Million Loan Guarantee to Tonopah Solar Energy for Nevada Project" (Press release). Loan Programs Office (LPO), Dept. of Energy (DOE). September 28, 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "PROJECT SUMMARY". Tonopah Solar Energy, LLC. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Wesoff, Eric (September 29, 2011). "DOE Races Against the Clock: Two Solar Loans Closed, Seven More to Go". Greentech Media. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Tetreault, Steve (September 28, 2011). "Nevada solar project to get $737 million federal loan guarantee". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Illia, Tony (January 23, 2012). "Salty Solution Generates Solar Power During Day and Night". ENR Southwest (The McGraw-Hill Companies). Retrieved 9 February 2012. 

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