On Thursday, Emcore (NSDQ: EMRK) announced it would supply between 200 and 700 megawatts of solar-power systems for large-scale projects that privately held SunPeak is developing in the Southwest.
Details about the Southwest projects were sparse. But SunPeak apparently is in the process of securing land and grid access.
Construction of Emcore's concentrating-solar technology is expected to begin early next year.
In general, concentrating solar uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight and direct it onto solar cells. These systems have the advantage of using smaller silicon cells and therefore less expensive silicon or other photovoltaic material.
Emcore and SunPeak aren't alone in efforts to convert mass amounts of Southwestern sun into energy.
Other companies, including Palo Alto, Calif.-based Ausra, also are in the race. In December, Ausra said it was building the world's largest factory for solar-thermal power systems in Las Vegas (see Ausra to Build World's Largest Solar-Thermal Factory).
Unlike Emcore, Ausra's technology uses the sun's heat, instead of light, to produce electricity. In Ausra's case, the company is using fields of mirrors to heat water into steam, which is then converted into electricity using a standard steam turbine.