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01/25/2010 10:20 AM     print story email story  

Tessera Unveils First Commercial-Scale Solar Thermal Plant News

Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) unveiled its Maricopa Solar power plant in Arizona--the first commercial project for the SunCatcher™ concentrating solar power (CSP) technology designed and manufactured by SES.

Maricopa Solar is comprised of 60 SunCatcher dishes and will provide 1.5 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. The SES SunCatcher is a 25-kilowatt solar power system which uses a 38-foot, mirrored parabolic dish combined with an automatic tracking system to collect and focus the sun's energy onto a Stirling engine to convert the solar thermal energy into grid-quality electricity.

Power from the Maricopa facility will go to SRP customers in Greater Phoenix, Arizona. SRP is the third-largest public power utility in the country.

"With this milestone now behind us we look forward to breaking ground on our initial 1,500 megawatts of projects in California and Texas later this year," Bob Lukefahr, Tessera Solar North America CEO, said.

Tessera says the SunCatcher has a number of advantages including the highest solar-to-grid electric efficiency, zero water use for power production, a modular and scalable design, low capital cost, and minimal land disturbance. SunCatcher was designed and developed in America, through a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. The SunCatchers unveiled at Maricopa Solar were manufactured and assembled in North America, mostly in Michigan by automotive suppliers.

High-volume manufacturing of the SunCatcher begins in Summer 2010 and Tessera Solar breaks ground on utility-scale projects late this year in California and Texas. Imperial Valley is a 750-MW project with the first 300MW contracted under a power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric near El Centro, California; Calico is a 850-MW project with Southern California Edison near Barstow, California; and Western Ranch is a 27-MW project with CPS Energy in West Texas. Manufacturing of SunCatcher components and construction of these projects will create up to 4,000 solar jobs in the near term, both in the Midwest, where SES's automotive supply chain base originates, and in the Southwest where projects will be developed.

Stirling Energy Systems (SES) ( is the global supplier of the SunCatcher solar dish engine system, the latest innovation in modular Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), and next generation of grid-quality, solar-electric power generation. Founded in 1996, the company maintains corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, and engineering and test site operations at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. NTR owns a controlling stake in SES Inc and Tessera Solar--the exclusive developer of the SunCatcher systems.

Founded in 1978, NTR ( has evolved from being a developer and operator of infrastructure in Ireland to an international developer and operator of renewable energy (wind, solar and ethanol) and sustainable waste management businesses in the USA, UK, and Ireland. The company employs over 4,100 people.


Reader Comments (1)

Hal Jordan

Date Posted:
09/09/12 07:21 PM

The company went bankrupt and auctioned off all of their assets. The buyer removed the solar reflectors and the site is now empty.

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