5 of 5
BACK NEXT
Mirrors in the desert
BrightSource Energy, based in Oakland, plans to build massive solar thermal plants in the Mojave desert to turn the sun's heat into electricity.

The company, which has raised $160 million from backers including BP, Google.org, and VantagePoint Venture Partners, just completed a pilot plant in Israel. Its full-scale facility in the Mojave is scheduled to open in 2010. Thousands of cheap, flat, sun-tracking mirrors direct heat at the top of 300-foot towers. The sun, reflected off the mirrors, heats the water in the boxes on the top of the tower to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, turning it into high-pressure steam that travels to a nearby power plant to turn a generator and create electricity.

BrightSource has won a contract with PG&E to generate as much as 900 MW of solar power in California, at a cost of $2 billion to $3 billion. That's roughly the equivalent of a nuclear power plant.

More galleries

LAST UPDATE: Jul 01 2008 | 1:08 PM ET
Sponsored by
More Galleries
Rebirth of America's dead factories Defunct factories around the country are in high demand as U.S. production once again revs up. More
7 hot businesses to start now It's hard to predict what businesses will take off, but these startup ideas have been drawing tons of interest from entrepreneurs and their customers on Thumbtack.com. More
How will a minimum wage hike hit businesses? Thirteen states increased the minimum wage on Jan. 1, and President Obama supports raising the federal rate to $10.10. 4 small business owners weigh in on how an increase would affect them. More
Sponsors

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.