As the article state, "The holy grail of renewable energy is a solar power plant that continues producing electricity after the sun goes down". Essentially, SolarReverse, a company in Santa Monica, California, is looking to build a 150-megawatt solar farm that will store around seven hours worth of the sun's energy by heating molten salt and releasing that heat at night to create steam that will turn a turbine in order to compensate for the demand of electricity throughout the day.
The project, named Rice Solar Energy Project, will be built in the Sonoran Desert. The power plant will use thousands of mirrors, called heliostats, to concentrate sunlight to a tower with a receiver mounted on top of it. The receiver will be filled with 4.4 million gallons of liquid salt and will be heated by the focused sunlight to around 1050 degrees, which will flow through a steam-generating system.
This isn't the first time salt has been used for solar purposes, but in this case, the salt will be stored in tanks and used later. Solar Reverse also claims that it will air-cool the plant to avoid using water, another concern that comes with energy. This is yet another step in the right direction in our path to more reliable and renewable energy. Now that we are expanding the definition of solar energy with the introduction of using salt, this will urge scientists to find other mediums to where we can store the sun's energy, a source of energy that will be here to stay.
Although this may work in California, not all states have the available space need to commit to such a large project. This limits the effectiveness of a power plant like this dependent on its location. In the future, I believe that the big states with enough money and in an area that has high solar power potential will invest in this type of power plant. I do wonder however, if the current state of California's economy will have any effect on this specific project. Whether it will delay the completion of the project, or completely abandon it, if there is any effect at all.