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Kilometer-High Arizona Solar Tower Could Become Tallest Building Ever

Friday, November 5th 2010 6:00 AM
By GetSolar Staff.
Kilometer-High Arizona Solar Tower Could Become Tallest Building Ever There's thinking big - and then there's EnviroMission's plan for solar power in the Arizona desert. Back in October, the Southern California Public Power Authority - a consortium of public utilities - approved a power purchase agreement with EnviroMission, a renewable energy firm that's pushing the boundaries of solar tech.

EnviroMission's plan, according to Greentech Media, is this: Spend $700 million to build a kilometer-high "solar chimney tower" in the deserts of Arizona, surrounded by a gigantic glass-covered disk over 3 miles across. The baking heat of the Arizona sun would pour down, heating the air - no water or fluids required  - which would then soar up the chimney, powering 35 immense turbines.

Easy, right?

It should be abundantly clear that the Solar Tower is a long way in the future - and even its "green" credentials might be in doubt once one considers the massive energy cost of erecting such a structure. But by entering into a PPA with the SCPPA, EnviroMission has taken a first step that allows it to begin planning and trying to get funding for its sky-high ambitions, since it has a definite customer for a plant that could generate as much as 200 megawatts of renewable solar energy without the use of silicon or water.

After all, while the Solar Tower might not be economical now, with oil hovering at about $87 per barrel, that might change if the price of oil starts spiking back up towards its pre-crisis highs.

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