PHOENIX, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Spanish energy company Abengoa said Wednesday its Solana solar plant in Arizona produced electricity without direct sunlight in its first commercial test.
The company said Wednesday the facility, about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, has an installed capacity of 280 megawatts of energy and can store the sun's power for six hours via thermal energy. The facility uses concave mirrors to focus the sun's rays to power a conventional steam turbine.
Abengoa said it was able to produce electricity from the steam turbines after the sun went down for six hours using only the thermal energy storage capacity of the facility.
State utility company Arizona Public Service has a 30-year agreement with Abengoa to purchase electricity from the plant. The Solana facility will have the ability to meet the annual energy needs of 70,000 households.
Abengoa said the facility is the first of its kind in the United States, which it said was a "turning point" for renewable energy in the country.
The company said the plan represents a $2 billion investment. It said it received financial support through a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from the federal government.