AUSTIN, USA: ThermalSoul, a wholesale clean energy services provider of renewable thermal power, announced today that it is in the process of selecting land for a site to develop Austin’s first solar thermal power generation facility. The new facility will be the first for the company in the United States.
Solar thermal energy is a technology that harnesses energy from the sun to generate heat, or thermal energy. Solar energy is gathered through high temperature collectors and moves through a thermal liquid, which stores the heat as energy and uses it to generate electricity.
Unlike solar energy, solar thermal stations can generate power in periods of inclement weather or even at night by using the stored thermal heat. Heat can be stored very efficiently. Studies show that solar thermal facilities with efficient storage capabilities could supply more than 90 percent of the power necessary to power the United States.
ThermalSoul believes it will be able to generate power at or near the wholesale cost of coal. “As Austin moves to expand renewable energy mandates, it is critical that we seek out energy sources that are not only good for the environment, but pro-business and pro-jobs as well,” said Rich Phillips, managing partner of ThermalSoul. “Solar thermal energy is the most efficient alternative. It is the right choice for both the Austin economy and environment.”
Following construction of the ThermalSoul facility, the company anticipates generating up to 10 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 7,000 to 9,000 homes. Because the technology scales easily and requires relatively little acreage compared to wind and solar panels, the facility can be expanded to meet future needs and green energy mandates of Central Texas utility companies.
Solar thermal technology is generally 10 times more efficient than wind or direct solar energy. Using clean, plentiful resources – sun, salt and water – solar thermal is considered a green, perpetual source of energy.
The solar thermal industry is growing quickly and is attracting investment from utility companies like Pacific Gas & Electric and large corporations like Google. This benefits consumers because as solar thermal technology advances, the price of providing this energy drops.
ThermalSoul plans to begin hiring for its plant development and management after breaking ground. Positions will include environmental engineers, construction managers and security personnel.
ThermalSoul will participate in the Austin Earth Day Festival April 21 at The Triangle Park. As an event sponsor, the company will showcase a parabolic solar collector and answer questions about solar thermal energy and its potential impact on the Central Texas energy market.
“Our mission is to help public and private utilities in Central Texas and throughout the Sun Belt meet renewable energy mandates without sacrificing economic growth,” said Phillips. “Austin employers and homeowners want to embrace green technology, but in these economic times, many cannot afford the high-cost of wind or other alternative energy sources. ThermalSoul will enable Austin to meet its renewable energy goals while protecting economic growth.”