Solar tower will power Las Vegas at night

SolarReserve has completed the central point of a solar project that uses molten salt storage to deliver power to the grid well after the sun has gone down.

The startup company today said it has completed the 540-foot tower of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, Nev., which is expected to start delivering 110 megawatts by the end of 2013. When it comes online, it’s projected to have 10 hours of storage, the longest full-load storage capacity for a solar plant.

Adding storage turns solar into a continuous power source and allows project developers to earn more money for their electricity. As a result, solar projects that use heat to make electricity have added molten salt storage to their facilities.