The average citizen of the US is now familiar with the Solyndra debacle and how the US Department of Energy blew approximately half a billion dollars on the idea to produce photovoltaic cells (PV) using a chemistry of Copper, Indium, Gallium and Selenium.
Solyndra got clobbered by the simple chemistry of silicon that the Chinese have now deployed in a massive fashion and drove down the cost of PV electric power generation. Just last week, another US DOE PV company announced they will fold. They are Abound Solar, and they were to use Cadmium and Tellurium chemistry for their PV cells. Approximately 0.1 billion dollars of tax payers’ money was wasted on Abound.
Not well known to the average American is a project for solar thermal energy in the Mojave Desert owned by BrightSource Energy. The project is located at Ivanpah, California on land owned by the federal government.
Interestingly, the above press release about the Ivanpah project being named project of the year includes NRG Energy, Google, BrightSource, and Bechtel. Southern California Edison (SCE) has agreed to purchase the power from Ivanpah under a twenty year power purchase agreement (PPA).
The Ex-Chairman of the Board of BrightSource is a Mr. Bryson who left BrightSource to become the 37th US Secretary of Commerce on October 21, 2011.