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Phoenix New Times - Phoenix Art - Jackalope Ranch - Print Version

Riverpoint Solar
Research Park
By Niki D'Andrea
published: Thu., Feb. 10 2011 @ 8:10AM

Photos by E. Groves
The solar dish at Riverpoint Solar Research Park

When you're driving along the I-10 East toward the Broadway curve, you may see a giant dish off to
the side of the freeway, pointed at the sky. The Arizona Department of Transportation estimates
that approximately 239,000 vehicles pass by this dish every day, yet most people have no clue what it

The massive dish is covered in bronze solar panels, and looks large enough to send messages into
outer space. But it's really a means of storing and generating solar power. The dish is part of an
18-acre test site called the Riverpoint Solar Research Park, an award-winning project launched
by Southwest Solar Technologies president Herb Hayden.

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Phoenix New Times - Phoenix Art - Jackalope Ranch - Print Version

The solar dish combines energy storage

with regeneration
The site officially opened on January 13, 2011. The 75-foot diameter solar dish off the I-10 is one of
many located throughout the Valley as part of the project. Each dish generates 200 kilowatts of
power, and works by using turbine engines to take in compressed air heated by the sun, and then
blowing the air out the back.

The goal of Riverpoint Solar Research Park is to generate renewable energy. They're currently testing
new solar dishes that will provide one megawatt of solar energy and storage. The project also acts as a
non-profit training industry, in conjunction with the University of Arizona and the University of

Despite resembling something out of a sci-fi movie, the solar dish at Riverpoint Solar Research Park
has already received accolades for being economical and eco-friendly. The project was recently
recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy, which gave Riverpoint one of its "Solar America
Showcase" awards.

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Phoenix New Times - Phoenix Art - Jackalope Ranch - Print Version

Showing 1 comments

It will occur to the people producing these types of complicated solar energy schemes, in the same way it did to Sherry Cole and Barbara
Kerr (progenitors of the Cole/Kerr Solar Cookers) that less is more. Then, and only then will we have solar power that is able to be
utilized by the general populace.

More economical non-polluting solar energy has been generated in the world by people using the cole/kerr cooker than any other source
of renewable energy in use by humans to date!

It's so simple, it's like turning on the water faucet.

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