Five Area Firms Get DOE Funds for Concentrating Solar Power Research

Five, Southern California firms are among companies who are splitting up $62M in government funding for the research, development, and demonstration of concentrating solar power systems, according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy. According to DOE Secretary Steven Chu, it has selected thirteen award winners in Concentrating Solar Power Systems Studies, and Concentrating Solar Power Component Feasibility Studies. Southern California is a major beneficiary of the DOE grants, with Pasadena-based eSolar received $10.8M for the design, build, and testing of a concentrating solar power plant system; Canoga Park-based Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne receiving $10.2M for building a solar power tower plant design; San Diego-based General Atomics getting up to $2.1M for energy storage technology based on sulfur; Chatsworth-based SunTrough Energy receiving up to $4.5M for a new class of solar concentrators; and Riverside-based Terrafore receiving up to $1.4M for its development of thermal storage systems for energy storage. The DOE said the projects will all go towards improving components and system designs to extend operation of concentrating solar power to 18 hours per day, which would make it possible for those plans to displace traditional, coal-burning power plants.