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Hidden Hills

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted August 9, 2011

As one of the leading states in renewable energy, California is the home to many solar projects and companies.

And Oakland, California-based BrightSource Energy is taking advantage of this with their second large-scale solar project.

BrightSource is a power generation company specializing in a unique form of solar power that uses mirrors called heliostats to aim sunlight at a water-filled tower.

The sun heats the water, which turns to steam and spins turbines.

It is very similar design to the solar tower created by EnviroMission (ASX: EVM), which will be built on a much larger scale in Arizona.

Called the Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System, BrightSource’s latest project will be located in Inyo County in Southern California.

Though plans were just submitted last Friday for approval with the California Energy Commission, BrightSource is confident that the system will be completed by the end of 2015, reports SF Gate.

It is expected to create 500 megawatts of renewable power, enough to power 178,000 homes, which will be purchased by Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

This project already has a superior design to BrightSource’s first project of this kind, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.

The two Hidden Hills towers will be 750 feet tall, significantly taller than the 450-foot Ivanpah tower.

This height increase will allow for a higher angling of the mirrors, which can then be set closer together to require less land for the project.

It will also, as SF Gate reports, employ an air-cooling system that will turn the steam back into water that can be recycled.

With this method it will use 140 acre-feet of water annually, a minimal amount in relation to projects of this kind that fail to recycle the water.

It is expected to cover 3,280 acres, or 5.12 square miles, of privately owned land, which according to EcoSeed should facilitate the approval process.

Ivanpah, located on public land, took three years to get approval.

The project will reduce annual CO2 emissions by about 500,000 tons, says EcoSeed.

BrightSource filed for a $250 million IPO this past April on the Nasdaq, reported the Financial Times.

Little has been revealed about the status of its IPO, but when it does finally go public the company may use proceeds from this to fund the Hidden Hills project.

That’s all for now,


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