OVERALL US Solar practices a holistic approach to project development – viewing a project from end to end – including all aspects: siting, permitting, technology, financing, interconnection, transmission, everything. What we offer our project partners is a path to success. See our Experience and Team to understand how our development track record allows us to understand these issues better than our competitors.
SITES We select only the project sites that we absolutely believe have the ability to get built – and then we turn them into real solar projects. US Solar currently has over 3000 acres of privately controlled sites, with over 400 MW of interconnect requests filed. We focus on short, solid paths to “shovel ready”, based on extensive site development experience.
TECHNOLOGY US Solar focuses on proven, bankable technologies, known to be financeable at the $50 MM to $300 MM project scale. There are only two technologies with the required commercial operation for this scale: Parabolic Trough and Photovoltaics.
PARABOLIC TROUGH CSP With over 300 MW of parabolic trough projects currently in commercial operation in California – for over 25 years – parabolic trough is the preferred choice for utilities as a proven, reliable utility-scale power source. Recent 50+ MW projects in Nevada and Spain have shown this a financeable solution. Gas firming options allow for truly firm, dispatchable solar energy projects – proven at SEGS VIII/IX.
Our project development approach allows us to get a CSP Trough project commercially operational in only two years from PPA signature.
How it works: The parabolic mirror systems (“troughs”) for this technology basically serve as a solar “front end” for a conventional steam power plant. Only, instead of using coal or gas to provide heat for steam, the sun is magnified on an oil-filled tube, creating heat for steam production. Some water is required for plant cooling and mirror washing, but much less than, for example, many agricultural uses on similar sizes of land. A typical plant might use a square-mile of old farm land.
PHOTOVOLTAICS (PV) Utility-scale PV offers a modular choice large projects, capable of expanding in regular stages, and with the ability to integrate into smaller transmission and distribution lines. PV technology has been used since the 1960s, with projects from the 1980s still in operation. The world’s largest projects range from 10 MW to 40 MW, mostly in Europe.
How it works: Photovoltaic materials release electricity directly when struck by the photons in sunlight. Wired together, thin photovoltaic cells are place in glass-encased modules, which are then wired together to create larger PV systems. Often these modules are installed on “trackers”, wherein the modules follow the Sun east to west, increasing the energy output from the total system.