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General Electric will use eSolar's solar tower technology in combined solar and natural-gas power plants.
Solar thermal plants to use the U.S. company's technology in a decade-long initiative to generate 2,000 megawatts of power.
At an event in Southern California, eSolar will bring its five-megawatt concentrating solar plant online, a crucial step on the way to larger utility-scale systems.
Bill Gross, the head of start-up incubator Idealab and CEO of eSolar, uses a background in Internet entrepreneurship and software to bring down the cost of utility-scale solar.
Southern California Edison will purchase 245 megawatts of electricity from eSolar's concentrating solar thermal plants.
With high silicon prices keeping the cost of photovoltaics up, solar-thermal power for utilities is looking attractive to investors.
Funding for the solar power start-up comes, in part, from Google, which said last year that it would begin investing in clean-tech companies.
In the second big solar power plant deal in a month, start-up eSolar signs deal to supply equipment to NRG Energy for up to 500 megawatts' worth of solar power.
This article originally mischaracterized the shape of mirrors on eSolar's solar power facilities. They are flat.
eSolar and Ferrostaal will offer full-service design and construction of heliostat-based solar thermal power plants.