Cheap 24-7 Sun Power

Cheap, clean, reliable and continuous electrons are not as elusive as we might think.

A new large scale solar electricity plant for Arizona, USA, shows the way forward. It will generate electricity by turning sunshine into heat and storing power overnight as molten salt.

It’s also competitive and big. Using South Australia as a comparison, the plant will generate about a fifth of Adelaide’s everyday basic electricity use. And the cost? In 6 years time, $115 per thousand units of electricity. That compares favourably with electricity from gas and also $120 for Adelaide power.

$120 was in the first 3 months of 2008, before any further inflation. It is also before a price on carbon pollution is introduced in Australia.