The completion of a 164 m-high solar power tower at a power project site in Nevada, USA, is a “significant” milestone for the solar energy industry, says the project’s developer.

The 110 MW Crescent Dunes concentrating solar power (CSP) plant is being built by SolarReserve and completion of the tower means that the project is on track to enter operation by the end of 2013.

The plant will be the USA’s first commercial-scale solar power facility with fully integrated energy storage and the largest power plant of its kind in the world. Its molten salt energy storage system means that it can deliver energy when the sun is not shining, making it a flexible plant that can match the needs of Nevada’s peak demand profile.

“We can deliver electricity ‘on demand’ the same way a coal, natural gas or nuclear fuelled plant does – but without emitting any harmful pollution or hazardous materials – providing a genuine alternative to conventional power generation,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve.

The flagship project is jointly owned by SolarReserve, ACS Cobra, and Santander, a global financial services company. ACS Cobra’s Nevada-based affiliate, Cobra Thermosolar Plants Inc., is the general contractor for the project.

The project has secured a 25-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy and will provide clean power to approximately 75 000 homes when complete. The project closed financing in September of 2011 utilising private equity investment from SolarReserve, ACS Cobra and Santander along with support from the US Department of Energy’s loan guarantee programme.