Ausra showcases its CSP technology via Kimberlina plant

Ausra, a large-scale solar thermal energy developer and manufacturer, has launched its Kimberlina Solar Thermal Energy Plant in Bakersfield, CA, which at full output, will be able to generate five megawatts of electricity, enough to power 3,500 homes in central California.

The plant is the first solar thermal power plant of any type built in California in nearly 20 years.

The Kimberlina plant, built in seven months, is also the first solar plant in the country to utilise Ausra's next generation technology. 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 applications.

"This plant proves that our technology is real, it works, and it's ready to power businesses or provide process steam for industries," said Ausra president, CEO and chairman Bob Fishman.

The company said that it has dropped solar power's costs by simplifying the design of its systems. "This also results in the most land-use efficient solar technology," it stated.

The plant also demonstrates Ausra's ability to provide solar mirror fields for industries that need high-temperature steam for their factories, either as retrofits or as part of new plant construction.

The Kimberlina facility will also serve as the gateway toward developing Ausra's Carrizo Plains solar power plant. In November last year, Ausra and California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) had 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.