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January 11th, 2010

American solar thermal firm to shine in China

Published on January 11th, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Reuters reported that concentrating solar thermal (CST) company eSolar has reached a deal to license its technology to a Chinese power equipment maker that plans to build a 2,000 megawatt (MW) CST project in China over the next 10 years.

CST uses the sun to heat water, producing steam to power a turbine and create electricity. The technology is seen by some as a viable replacement for fossil-fuel generators because such plants can rival the capacities of many conventional power plants.

The deal comes as the Chinese government aims to boost renewable energy generating capacity in the country, with plans to produce at least 10,000 MW of solar energy and 20,000 MW of wind power by 2020.

“China wants to build on a very large scale. Over time there will be demand for 2 terawatts – two thousand times what we’re making right now,” said eSolar’s founder Bill Gross.

The Pasadena, California-based company has deals with U.S. utilities to create more than 400 megawatts at CST power plants in the Southwest. It recently opened its first commercial power plant in Lancaster, California.

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