Energy storage has been the big buzzword in the solar energy and green energy solutions business for the last year or so. We’ve discussed the matter before in Energy and Batteries and several other blog posts.

One of the biggest challenges that solar energy/panels have is the reliance upon the clean free energy of the sun in order to generate power. This has obviously lead to a huge push for solar batteries, but what if there was a way to continue to generate power throughout the night, rather than just store solar from the day?

This was precisely the idea behind the pillar of salt in Nevada.

SolarReserve has been developing a ground up solution that will allow solar power to be delivered up to 10 hours after the sun renders PV panels ineffective. This is accomplished by focusing rays of the sun on the pillar of liquid salt in the center of the solar field outside of Tonopah, Nevada.

Crescent Dunes, the name of the new site, is due to come online by the end of 2015. It uses over 17,000 mirrors to focus sunlight on a heat receiver atop a center tower in a layout mirroring (ha ha) California’s massive Ivanpah solar power tower.

The salt will then generate steam throughout the night which will provide power to the Las Vegas Strip. The benefit of salt over other heated materials is that it has a higher temperature point, and the most efficient conversion of heat into energy.

With solar energy decreasing in price every day, competition in the field of energy storage is ramping up. This competition only benefits home owners with cheaper energy, and the environment through a reduction in carbon emissions.