Advanced utility-scale solar energy technologies soon will be tested at a sprawling federal site in the Nevada desert where nuclear weapons were tested 60 years ago.

Solar-Demonstration-SigningLAS VEGAS – Advanced utility-scale solar energy technologies soon will be tested at a sprawling federal site in the Nevada desert where nuclear weapons were tested 60 years ago.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada gathered in Las Vegas to announce their agreement to turn 25-square miles of the former Nevada Nuclear Test Site into a Solar Demonstration Zone.

Formerly known as the Nevada Proving Grounds, the site will now serve as the proving ground for new solar technologies. The new solar test site will be on lands owned by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and administered by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

“The Nevada Test Site is about to play a new role in securing America’s future, but instead of testing nuclear weapons, we will test new solar technologies that will help put America on a sustainable energy path,” said Secretary Chu at the signing ceremony at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“Working closely with the Department of Interior, and with the critical leadership of Senator Reid, we will demonstrate technologies that will lower the cost of solar energy, accelerate the pace of innovation, and help build a clean energy economy,” Chu said.

The Energy Department will use the site to demonstrate innovative concentrating solar power technologies. CSP systems concentrate the Sun’s energy and capture that energy as heat, which then drives an engine or turbine to produce electrical power.

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Source: Environment News Service
Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior