Italian renewables developer Enel Green Power has inaugurated the triple renewable hybrid plant in Fallon, Nevada, US.


Claimed to be the first of its kind, the Stillwater renewable hybrid facility is designed to produce renewable energy by combining geothermal, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies.

The facility will increase energy availability and reduce energy intermittency by combining geothermal and solar technologies at a single production site.

Enel Green Power CEO Francesco Starace said: "The lessons we are learning at this advanced geothermal-solar facility will be key to the development of other hybrid plants throughout the world.

"We will continue to invest in new technological solutions to maximise existing assets and support further growth, maintaining innovation and operational efficiency as a key driver of our strategic plan."

According to the company, the geothermal and solar (thermal and photovoltaic) are complementary to each other as the production from solar is higher during hottest days of the year, when the thermal efficiency of the geothermal plant is lower.

In 2014, Enel installed 2MW of concentrating solar power to the existing 33MW geothermal plant and 26MW solar photovoltaic field, bringing the overall generation capacity of the facility to approximately 60 MW.

The sharing of existing infrastructure reduces plant’s environmental impact per unit of energy produced and delivered.

Enel started operations of the Stillwater solar geothermal hybrid project in 2009 following completion of the geothermal plant.

The hybrid project has been developed under the framework of the cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL), under the oversight of the US Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office.

Image: Enel started operations of the Stillwater hybrid project in 2009 upon completion of the geothermal plant. Photo: courtesy of Enel Green Power North America/U.S. Department of Energy.