High-capacity plant to double worldwide output, create green collar jobs
LAS VEGAS — Dec. 13, 2007 — Ausra Inc., the developer of utility-scale solar thermal power, announced today it is building the first U.S. manufacturing plant for solar thermal power systems in Las Vegas. The 130,000-square-foot, highly automated manufacturing and distribution center will produce the reflectors, towers, absorber tubes, and other key components of the company's solar thermal power plants.
Solar thermal power plants use fields of mirrors to capture the sun's power to produce electricity without pollution. Ausra's innovations in mirror systems have brought the price of solar power down to the level of gas-fired power today, and will soon reach prices associated with coal-fired generation. Solar thermal power plants can store energy as heat to continue power generation at night and during cloudy periods.
"Ausra can fill four square miles with solar collectors every year from this one factory, enough to provide market-priced zero-pollution power to 500,000 homes. Americans want clean power, and are tired of the market fluctuations, price increases, and pollution from fossil power plants. With market-priced solar power, we are entering the Solar Decade, in which massive construction of solar plants will take place. We are investing now in the systems and capacity to serve that need," said Bob Fishman, president and CEO of Ausra.
In November 2007, Ausra and California utility PG&E announced a power purchase agreement for a one-square-mile, 177-megawatt power plant, enough to power over 120,000 homes, to be built in central California http://ausra.com/news/releases/071105.html. Ausra's new Las Vegas facility will manufacture the solar field equipment for the PG&E project and for other power projects throughout the American Southwest. The factory, the first of its kind in the U.S., will be capable of making over 700 megawatts (electric) of solar collectors per year.
The facility is expected to employ up to 50 highly skilled manufacturing workers in the Las Vegas area.
"We are proud that Ausra has chosen southern Nevada to build its U.S. manufacturing plant, bringing economic growth and new jobs to our state," said Somer Hollingsworth, president and CEO of the Nevada Development Authority (NDA). "The business-friendly environment we enjoy here provides Ausra and other companies a wealth of benefits. Ausra's decision to locate here points to Nevada becoming a leader in building and delivering clean power to our state, to our region, and to our country. Clean energy is growing our economy and helping America secure our energy future."
The plant will begin regular operation in April 2008. "We chose to locate in Nevada because it is the center of America's solar energy future. Nevada has massive solar resources, available land and a growing demand for clean energy, with huge markets next door in California and neighboring states projected to demand many thousands of megawatts over the coming years. Nevada's business-friendly climate, excellent transportation and workforce resources, and large-scale need for clean power made it the obvious choice," said Rob Morgan, Ausra executive vice president and chief development officer.
Ausra's Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) solar technology utilizes the heat from the sun's rays to create steam. Solar collectors boil water at high temperature to power steam turbine generators, in much the same way as traditional fossil-fuel power plants, but without use of fuels or emissions.
Ausra, Inc. develops and deploys utility-scale solar thermal power technology to serve global electricity needs in a dependable, market-competitive, environmentally responsible manner. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Ausra is a privately held company funded by Khosla Ventures and Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. To learn more about Ausra and solar thermal power in general, visit www.ausra.com.