BrightSource teams up with Abengoa for Palen project in California desert

In an announcement made by California-based solar company BrightSource Energy said Spanish firm Abengoa SA on Friday, the two companies have worked out a partnership for the Palen project in the California desert.

The partnership between BrightSource and Abengoa, for the 500-megawatt `Palen Solar Electric Generating System,' project which involves joint efforts by both the companies for securing finances as well as permits for building the power plant, which will produce electricity by using solar heat.

The $2.6 billion Palen plant - which BrightSource acquired from bankrupt German firm Solar Millennium AG last year - will use BrightSource's technology and design; while Abengoa will be responsible for building, operating and maintaining the power plant. Though the California Energy Commission has already given its go-ahead to the project, BrightSource is now seeking approval for using a solar thermal technology which differs from the one Solar Millennium was supposed to use.

According to the announcement made by BrightSource and Abengoa, construction on the Palen power plant is likely to commence towards the end of this year; with the plant expected to become operational in 2016.

Located on federal lands in Riverside County, the Palen power plant will apparently have the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 200,000 homes. However, BrightSource has not yet made any official disclosure about the utility which will buy the power produced by the plant.