Both the Calico Solar and Imperial Valley Solar projects would utilize the "Suncatcher" technology. Each Suncatcher resembles a giant satellite dish that would harness solar energy. This technology is not as tested as parabolic technology selected for other solar projects since the Suncatchers involve more working parts in order to rotate and track the path of the sun during the day, making them prone to a potentially higher rate of failure. Additionally, the Suncatcher technology is very loud, and placing thousands of the dishes on the Calico and Imperial sites would be disruptive to the quiet solitude for miles around the sites. For the Imperial Valley project, a nearby location could have ambient noise increased by 19 decibels, according to a CEC Staff Assessment.
The fact that the CEC Staff requested data on the reliability of the Suncatchers and have gone so far as to include this as a condition necessary to the approval of Tessera Solar's Imperial site suggests the concerns have caught the attention of Sacramento. It would be a tremendous waste if Tessera Solar's projects fail after it receives approval to bulldoze thousands of acres of prime desert wilderness on public land, using taxpayer money (in the form of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds).
|Screenshot of Suncatchers taken from the CEC PMPD document available on the CEC website.|