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Maricopa County Approves 150mw Solar Thermal Project

By Eric Jay Toll for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Another solar power generation facility gets ready to join the grid with Maricopa County’s approval of the special use permit for the Crossroads Solar Energy Project. Located west of Gila Bend, the SolarReserve-developed project will generate 150 megawatts of power. The project required Arizona Corporation Commission approval and a major comprehensive plan amendment from the county before earning its use permit. The two actions were approved in 2011 and 2010 respectively.

During construction, the project is expected to put about 450 people to work. It will be maintained with a sustained workforce of around 45. The project is large enough to power up to 100K homes during peak demand periods.

SolarReserve is using conventional photovoltaic panels to generate 65 megawatts of power and new-generation molten solar tower technology for the remainder. Solar energy is focused onto the tower and it acts as a battery storing solar-generated electricity for up to ten hours. Power will be sold to utilities in Arizona and California.

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