Stirling Energy, Tessera unveil SunCatcher olar power system

Stirling Energy Systems (SES) and Tessera Solar have unveiled SunCatcher solar power systems to sele

The company said that the modular concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) SunCatcher system uses precision mirrors attached to a parabolic dish to concentrate the sun's energy onto a stirling engine. Each dish has capacity of up to 25,000W and has been certified by Sandia national laboratories having highest sun-to-grid energy conversion.

In addition, the modifications are built on proven designs, optimizing the SunCatcher for manufacturing, reduced operations and maintenance costs, and ease of maintenance.

The SunCatcher dish structure incorporates a weight reduction of nearly 5,000 pounds in its steel structure by leveraging a combination of SES's structural analysis and Sandia's optical analysis capabilities. The reflective mirror facets are produced using automotive techniques enabling production. The engines represent a 60% reduction in parts count and improvement in serviceability.

Steve Cowman, CEO of Stirling Energy Systems, said: "The new production design of the SunCatcher represents more than a decade of innovative engineering and validation testing making it ready for commercialization.

"By utilizing the automotive supply chain to manufacture the SunCatcher, we're leveraging the talents of an industry that has refined high-volume production through an assembly line process. More than 90% of the SunCatcher components will be manufactured in north America."

The company claims that SunCatcher minimizes both cost and land use and has environmental advantages such as: lowering the water usage of any thermal electric generating technology, minimal grading and trenching requirements, no excavation for foundations, no greenhouse gas emissions with converting sunlight into electricity.

The solar dish stirling technology will be deployed to develop two of the solar generating projects in Southern California with San Diego Gas & Electric in the Imperial Valley and Southern California Edison in the Mojave desert, in addition to the project with CPS Energy in west Texas.

Bob Lukefahr, CEO of Tessera Solar North America, said: "As we prepare for full-scale production and deployment of the SunCatcher in 2010, we're currently planning the construction of a commercial-scale reference plant later this year and actively building our project pipeline across the Southwest. Our projects will break ground next year, with the goal of producing 1,000 MW by the end of 2012."