Mojave Desert Town to Go Almost Fully Solar

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Nipton, California equipped with High Gain Solar arrays.

A small town on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert may soon get 85% of its power needs exclusively from solar energy.

The municipal solar power plant for Nipton, Calif., will be equipped with High Gain Solar arrays (HGS) from Skyline Solar.

Skyline Solar's HGS arrays are designed to use less silicon to save manufacturing costs while still providing effective solar energy. To that end, the company uses a reflective metal cradle made of sheet metal to concentrate sunlight onto monocrystalline silicon cells, a method apparently 10 times more efficient than traditional solar panels without high concentrator systems.

Nipton, which was founded in 1905 in large part due to railroad placement, sits right at the northern edge of the Mojave National Preserve and is about 45 miles south of Las Vegas, Nev. It's essentially a restored ghost town that offers visitors a general trading post, cafe, and hotel before entering the Mojave Desert preserve or driving on to Joshua Tree National Park. That is to say, this solar power plant will be supporting a tiny town with a population of under 1,000.

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