March 11, 2008 12:39 pm

Abengoa Solar PlantOutside of Invention Girl’s office in Pittsburgh, where InventHelp is headquartered, winter is still going full blast. We’ll be lucky if we see 40-degree temperatures this week. So this kind of story about sunny Arizona is the kind that makes me want to pack my bags and head for the Southwest!

Arizona governor Janet Napolitano recently said that there’s no reason why Arizona can’t be “Persian Gulf of solar energy,” and a Spanish solar-power company agrees. Abengoa Solar will operate a $1 billion solar-energy plant covering 3 square miles of desert southwest of Phoenix. Abengoa Solar, which has plants in Spain, northern Africa and other parts of the U.S., could begin construction as early as next year on the 280-megawatt plant.

Regulators are requiring that 15 percent of electricity must come from renewable sources by 2025, and this plant will harness enough power to supply electricity to 70,000 homes in the area.

Unlike most solar energy, Abengoa will collect power through the sun’s heat rather than its light. It can reach up to 120 degrees in the summer, and heat can still be collected at night when the sun is down. The plant will use thousands of giant mirrors to harness the energy, in turn heating liquids which will spin turbines, creating pollution-free power.

Now, given the choice between 120-degree summer heat and sub-zero winter cold, I think I’ll stay put here in Pittsburgh. Would someone kindly hand me my InventHelp Invention Girl snowsuit, please? It’s time for my morning coffee.

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