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.
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.