A subsidiary of oil giant Chevron Corp. plans to build what New Mexico officials say will be the largest solar power plant in the nation that uses lenses to focus sunlight onto solar cells. Chevron Mining Inc. and Gov. Bill Richardson announced the concentrating photovoltaic demonstration project Tuesday in Santa Fe.
The 1-megawatt plant will be built on 20 acres of the company's molybdenum mine near Questa (KWES'-tah) in northern New Mexico and produce enough electricity to power the roughly 350 homes in the village. Unlike a concentrating solar thermal plant, it will use lenses to focus sunlight onto solar cells.
Chevron officials say the technology is up to two times more efficient than traditional solar panels and uses less photovoltaic material.