Ausra, Inc. and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday
launched the company’s Kimberlina Solar Thermal Energy Plant in
Bakersfield, CA, showcasing the company’s concentrating solar thermal
technology, which it intends to employ on a utility scale over the next
At full output, Kimberlina, which is a demonstration-scale plant, will be able to generate 5 megawatts (MW) of
electricity by concentrating the heat of the sun with large reflective mirrors.
Kimberlina plant is the first solar plant in the country to utilize
Ausra’s next generation technology, and it is the first solar thermal
power plant of any type built in California in nearly 20 years. The Kimberlina plant was built in only seven months.
"This next generation solar power plant is further evidence that
reliable, renewable and pollution-free technology is here to stay, and
it will lead to more California homes and businesses powered by
sunshine," said Governor Schwarzenegger.
The Palo Alto, CA-based company has dropped solar power’s costs
by simplifying the design of its systems. Ausra is manufacturing its
1,000-foot mirror lines at a factory in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"This plant proves that our technology is real, it works, and it’s
ready to power businesses or provide process steam for industries now,"
said Fishman. "Ausra is first on the market, providing customers a
dependable, cost-effective solar thermal energy system. Some of the
best investment minds in the country have backed our technology and our
management team’s ability to deliver."
Ausra said the Kimberlina facility will serve as the gateway toward
developing the company’s Carrizo Plains solar power plant. In November
2007, Ausra and California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company
(PG&E) announced a power purchase agreement for the 177-megawatt power plant in
central California. When completed, Ausra’s Carrizo facility will
generate enough electricity to power more than 120,000 homes.
Unlike photovoltaic solar panels, which convert the light from
the sun into electricity and are commonly rooftop mounted, solar
thermal facilities use large fields of mirrors to concentrate and
capture the sun’s heat, converting it into useful forms of energy. In
Ausra’s technology, heat is focused on tubes of water to create steam
that drives large power turbines, generating clean, reliable
electricity and high-temperature, "process" steam for industrial