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Stirling Energy Systems (SES) and Tessera Solar unveiled last week four newly designed solar power collection dishes at Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF).
Called SunCatchers™, the new dishes have a refined design that will be used in commercial-scale deployments of the units beginning in 2010.
“The four new dishes are the next-generation model of the original SunCatcher system. Six first-generation SunCatchers built over the past several years at the NSTTF have been producing up to 150KW [kilowatts] of grid-ready electrical power during the day,” says Chuck Andraka (7337), the lead Sandia project engineer. “Every part of the new system has been upgraded to allow for a high rate of production and cost reduction.”
Chuck and Sandia’s concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) team have been working closely with SES over the past five years to improve the system design and operation.
On 140 acres of unused Nellis land, 70,000 solar panels await activation as the first third of the solar photovoltaic array gets commissioned Oct. 12 with the other 66 percent of the panels scheduled for activation in the next two months. The solar panels are part of a solar photovoltaic array that will generate 15 megawatts of solar power for the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nadine Y. Barclay)