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From Sand to Solar

Secretary Chu and Secretary Salazar announce a new plan to turn a former nuclear weapon testing site into a solar technology testing site.

Energy investors and entrepreneurs often refer to the period between technologies being developed in the lab and making their way to the marketplace as a "valley of death" due to the multitude of factors that can prevent those advancements from reaching the consumer. Today, just miles from the real Death Valley in Nevada, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and I announced a venture that will help promising solar technologies make that journey to the market. The Nevada Test site, which was once used to test nuclear weapons, will now be dedicated to testing new solar technologies that will help put America on a sustainable energy path.

Under an agreement between the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior, the federal government is dedicating more than 25 square miles to solar energy research - an area larger than Manhattan. This will allow us to demonstrate technologies at a much larger scale than could be done in a lab. We are particularly excited about the future of Concentrating Solar Power, or CSP. CSP uses mirrors to concentrate the Sun's rays and then uses the resulting heat to produce electricity. By storing that heat in molten salt, these plants can produce clean power even after the sun has gone down.

For a more detailed overview of CSP technology, watch the video below.  


Steven Chu is the Secretary of Energy