The world's first hybrid geothermal-solar plant is now online in Nevada.
The 59 megawatt (MW) Stillwater project includes 26 MW of solar and was built by Enel Green Power North America. All the power is being sold to the utility, NV Energy.
The integration of the two technologies brings significant benefits: solar provides electricity during peak hours when thermal efficiency of the geothermal unit is lowest, enabling base load power, and there are cost savings from a shared infrastructure and transmission connection. There's also a smaller environmental footprint per unit of renewable energy produced and delivered.
The geothermal plant has been operating since 2009 and 89,000 solar PV panels are on an adjacent 240 acres.
Stillwater and another geothermal plant in Nevada are the only ones in the world that use large scale electric submersible pumps to extract geothermal fluid. With the plants binary process, no water is used and no air emissions are produced.
The company, based in Spain, has a 7079 MW renewable energy portfolio, with 650 facilities around the world in solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric. It has 1000 MW in North America, in 70 projects in 21 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.
Last year, Enel ordered a solid-hydrogen energy storage system to integrate with wind and solar technologies.
Enel is one of the finalists bidding on a mammoth 500 MW solar thermal plant south of Morocco.