In what is hopefully a sign that the finance industry may be beginning to realise the real potential of investing in clean energy rather than manuactured financial derivatives, Goldman Sachs, through its subsidiary Cogentrix, is to build a 30-megawatt solar power plant near Alamosa, in southern Colorado. The plant is expected to be the largest concentrating photovoltaic facility in the world.

The plant will use Amonix concentrating solar PV technology which uses lenses to focus sunlight on small multi-junction solar cells. The sunlight is concentrated up to 500 times so that much less semiconductor material is needed. The multi-junction solar cells, which use different photovoltaic materials to capture a wide range of light frequencies, can achieve conversion efficiencies up to 39%. The system will also use a dual-axis tracking system so that the solar panels can follow the sun across the sky.

Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2011 with completion in the second quarter of 2012.

Amonix solar PV plant at River Mountains, Nevada
Amonix solar PV plant at River Mountains, Nevada