By San Francisco Business Times

Oakland-based BrightSource Energy has applied to build another huge solar project in unincorporated Riverside County.

BrightSource's latest project, Rio Mesa, is made up of three parcels that will each house approximately 250 megawatts' worth of solar thermal equipment. Combined, the 750 megawatt project will be able to create enough electricity to power 300,000 homes.

The new project is 200 miles from BrightSource's first project, known as Ivanpah, for which it was awarded a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. BrightSource broke ground on that project near Blythe, Calif. one year ago and it is still under construction.

BrightSource's solar thermal technology uses fields of mirrors to direct sunlight onto a tank at the top of a tall tower. Inside the tank, liquid is heated into steam, which runs a turbine and produces electricity.

Rio Mesa will be developed on 5,750 acres, most of which is owned by the Metropolitan Water District. The site was designated in the 1970s as a site for the SunDesert Nuclear Power plant, which was never built.

BrightSource said the Rio Mesa project will employ 2,500 worker at the peak of construction and will contribute $300 million in state and local taxes over its 25-year life.

This is the third large-scale project BrightSource has announced.

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