184,000 mirrors to power Las Vegas’ 15,000 homes

solar thermal heats up in the desert 9

The Las Vegas will soon be going green with the supply of solar-thermal energy-based power supply. The Nevada Solar One power plant makes itself unique hitting the headlines by using approximately 184,000 mirrors to produce electricity to power 15,000 homes.

The mirrors are arranged in long, parabolic arrays making the plant essentially making it a gargantuan tea kettle. The mirrors focus the sun’s energy on a receiver – an oil-filled metal tube encased in specialized glass.

The sunlight reflected by the glass heats the oil to 400 degrees Celsius (about 750 degrees Fahrenheit)!
The super-heated oil then gets transferred to a heat exchanger. It is where it makes steam capable of cranking a turbine to produce electricity.

Never mind, if the heat can’t be used right away. The heat gets transferred to vats of molten salt, which retain the heat for later use.