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Acciona puts Nevada Solar One into service

Acciona Energy has connected its "Nevada Solar One" solar thermal plant in the State of Nevada (USA). Its 64 MW capacity make it the largest solar plant to be built in the world in the last 16 years. Close to $250 million were invested in the facility, which took 16 months to be built and will produce 134 million kilowatt hours a year. This is Acciona's first venture into solar thermal energy, a renewable technology in which the company is currently developing several significant projects. The Nevada plant has already supplied its first test kilowatts to the grid and expects to begin commercial operations within a week. Located in Boulder City, 40 kilometres southwest of Las Vegas, the plant covers a total of 1.3 million square metres.

It has 76 kilometres of parabolic cylinder concentrators with almost 219,000 mirrors that concentrate the sun's rays onto over 18,000 receiver tubes located on their focal line. A fluid that heats up to 400C flows through these pipes and is used to produce steam and drive a conventional turbine connected to a generator to produce electricity.

The energy generated by the plant will be sent to the grid via a power line that passes close to the facility and will be purchased by the utilities Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Both companies will purchase the energy to comply with Nevada State requirements for the production of electric power from renewables -20% of the electricity consumption from these sources in 2013, with 5% exclusively from solar energy.

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