PHOENIX – Until now, visions of Arizona homes powered by renewable energy have centered mostly on rooftop solar panels or huge solar power plants in the desert.comm
A Spanish company setting up operations in the Valley is promoting a new vision: developments built around generating stations providing solar power by day and generator power, preferably running on renewable fuels, after the sun goes down.
Aora Solar offers a community-scale power facility that can be built on a half acre and can generate 100 kilowatts, enough for between 60 and 100 homes. The centerpiece is a 100-foot-tall, tulip-shaped tower that an array of mirrors hits with sunlight to turn a turbine with superheated air.
Zev Rosenzweig, the company’s CEO, said the American Southwest is an ideal location for the technology because the plants use little water and can capitalize on the region’s abundant sunshine. The technology is in use at a plant in Israel and at a plant that is awaiting commissioning and certification in Spain.
“Today, we’ve been approached by quite a number of architects who want to design housing developments with our tower in the center because it’s aesthetically pleasing and it doesn’t dominate the neighborhood and it will create a sort of island of energy independence around it,” he said.