Wilson's concentrated solar power (CSP) system targets 5-6 cents/kilowatt-hour
Wilson Solarpower is commercializing a highly-cost-competitive CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) system, the 247Solar PlantTM, engineered to operate 24/7 everyday of the year independent of weather conditions. The company's international team of experts showed under a US Department of Energy grant that this approach to CSP has the potential to reach electricity costs under 7 cents/kilowatt-hour. With further development and mass production, 5-6 cents/kWh may be achieveable. Because of its ability to store large amounts of solar heat for non-daytime use, coupled with occasional backup fuel, the 247Solar Plant can provide firm, flexible, dispatchable power around the clock.
In addition to its cost and operating advantages, the 247Solar Plantoffers significant additional advantages over other clean energy technologies. The Plants use mostly proven, mass-produced components with minimal on-site deployment costs and and little impact on the land. In other words, all 247Solar Plants are identical and are erected quickly, like wind machines. Unlike most other CSP systems that use scarce water resources for making steam to drive large turbines, compressed hot air drives the turbines used in 247Solar Plants. These proven, plug-n-play "microturbines" can use gas or liquid fuels when the thermal storage system is depleted to maintain completely uninterruptible power, if desired.
247Solar Plants can be sized as small as 400 kWe (kilowatts, for roughly 80-100 US homes) to provide distributed power adjacent to the load while also providing waste heat from the turbines in combined heat and power (CHP) applications. Tens, hundreds or thousands of 247Solar Plants can be combined to provide power at any scale.
247Solar Plants use "best of breed" commercial heliostats, tower components and reliable, proven microturbines. Wilson will incorporate its own, MIT-invented, high-temperature ceramic components into future 247Solar Plants, which will enable them to compete with even the lowest cost fossil fuel systems. To this end, Wilson Solarpower recently completed Phase 2 of its US Department of Energy (DOE) grant (totalling $3.9 million) to further the development of its key components to increase modular size and efficiency of the Wilson CSP System.
• Is simple, low-cost, all-factory produced with minimal on-site labor; uses existing heavy industry factories; new factories not required
• Uses no water/steam, salts, oils, hydrogen or helium
• Has extremely high reliability due to redundancy of numerous 247Solar Plants in a single power project
• Power project size is widely variable (400 kilowatts to 1000s megawatts)
• Is comparatively quickly engineered, permitted, erected, commissioned (standard modules, like wind turbines)
Special Siting Advantages:
• Customer-need-driven, e.g., can be of any size larger than 400 kWe and, also, in close proximity to load
• Few, if any, environmental concerns
• Minimal impact on the land - may support second use (e.g., farming, landfill, wind power)
• Sites can be hilly and need not be perfectly flat
• Sites can be irregularly shaped and need not be round or rectangular
• Sites can be square miles or as small as half a football field
The modular system is based on two MIT breakthrough energy-efficiency technologies:
• 247Solar Heat Exchanger™
• 247Solar Power Block™
• 247Solar Thermal Storage System™