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US lab to build solar power testing center in New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Sandia National Laboratories has been awarded a $25 million contract to build, test and operate a new solar power test facility on its campus in New Mexico.

Using a concentrated beam of sunlight to heat up sand-like particles, the system will be able to produce thermal energy for thousands of hours and will have the capacity to store six hours of energy.

The contract was announced Thursday by the lab and the U.S. Energy Department. The agency's goal is to develop technology that can make concentrating solar power plants easier to build and more reliable. The New Mexico-based lab already is known for work its work on other solar and wind projects.