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Solar Power Question: What is Solar One?

Answer: Solar One was a pilot solar-thermal project built in the Mojave Desert just east of Barstow, CA, USA.

It was the first test of a large-scale thermal solar power tower plant. Solar One was designed by the Department of Energy (DOE), Southern California Edison, LA Dept of Water and Power, and California Energy Commission. It was located in Daggett, CA, about 10 miles (16 km) east of Barstow.

Solar One's method of collecting energy was based on concentrating the sun's energy onto a common focal point to produce heat to run a steam turbine generator. It had hundreds of large mirror assemblies, or heliostats, that track the sun, reflecting the solar energy onto a tower where a black receiver absorbed the heat. High-temperature heat transfer fluid was used to carry the energy to a boiler on the ground where the steam was used to spin a series of turbines, much like a traditional power plant.

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