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Technologies to Concentrate the Sun's Energy

The federal government is about to spend billions of dollars on renewable energy.

Sun Worship: Brightsource Energy is testing solar thermal technology in a desert 60 kilometers outside of Jerusalem, Israel. The test plant, which produces four to six megawatts, uses 1,600 glass mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy on a central 60-meter-high tower, on top of which is a boiler. A commercial plant planned for California’s Mojave Desert will be a hundred times larger, producing 400 megawatts.
Power angle: Photovoltaic panels built by SunPower are on a tracking apparatus that moves the solar cells during the day to follow the sun.
The panels, shown here at SunPower’s headquarters in San Jose, CA, are moved by a solar-powered motor.
The company says its solar cells, which use a design created by founder Richard Swanson, a former Stanford professor, are the most efficient commercial photovoltaics.

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