Most of Solar Two's heliostats are large, segmented glass mirrors mounted on frames that track the sun throughout the day, continuously directing solar energy onto the central receiver. Solar Two has more than 1900 heliostats, and taken together, they comprise the plant's largest single component. By collecting solar energy during daylight hours and storing it in hot molten salt, power tower technology gives utilities an alternative method for meeting peak loads. When demand for electricity is high - for example, during summer afternoons when air conditioning use is heaviest - the stored energy can be used to generate electricity and supply additional power to the utility grid.

Solar Two's receiving "power tower" under construction.
Picture credit: Hugh Reilly - Sandia National Laboratories (1995)

Solar Two in action.
Picture credit: Joe Flores, Southern California Edison (1996)

Solar Two mirror with technician at the base.
Picture credit: Warren Gretz (1996)

Solar Two's multi-mirror heliostats.
Picture credit: Joe Flores, Southern California Edison (1996)