A Solar Research Park Rises in Phoenix

If you’re planning on flying into Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport in Arizona in the next year, you may notice a new facility rising just south of the airport, the focal point of which–a 75 foot diameter concentrating solar dish–will actually be visible to commuters as they cross the Salt River along Interstate 10.

This is Southwest Solar Technologies’ new Southwest Solar Research Park, which recently completed initial development on 18-acres–a state-of-the-art, secured facility designed to serve as a center for renewable energy research and innovation, concentrating solar power (CSP) in particular. The Southwest Solar Research Park will provide Southwest Solar Technologies’ engineers and development partners with plenty of sunshine and field space to operate in evaluating new solar technology, with convenient access to the city’s universities and tech industry base.

solar concentrator

image via Southwest Solar Technologies

The company’s CEO, Brad Forst, noted that he’s currently in discussions with other renewable energy businesses about co-locating at the park to promote collaboration and make land available for testing/demonstration projects. Potential collaborators include universities, private companies, and government-sponsored projects.

Southwest Solar Technologies says it is a developer of a new solar power system that combines the high efficiency of a solar dish concentrator with the durability and performance of gas turbine engines. It looks to provide concentrating solar power while using no cooling water, and with the capability of firm power using backup fuel and energy storage. Firm power reportedly is a clear advantage over standard photovoltaic or wind systems that are intermittent due to weather.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • Moves like this can only help the solar energy industry. The more companies that jump on board the more competitive we can be with other countries.