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Worlds Largest Solar Thermal Plant in USA Shines

Ivanpah Solar Project was just activated in California’s Mojave Desert supplying clean energy to 140,000 homes.

USA commercial solar power

Ivanpah Solar Project comes online after years in development

The Ivanpah Solar Project, which was privately funded by BrightSource, Google and NRG uses 170,000 sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats that refocus the sun’s energy on a receiver mounted on a 450′ tower. The receiver heats up a boiler heating water up to 1000F which produces pressurized steam that turns a turbine generator creating electricity (aka solar thermal power). Each heliostat can power roughly one home.

The Ivanpah Solar plant located in California’s Mojave Desert can produce 392 MW (net), which is enough energy to power 140,000 homes (in Los Angeles and/or San Francisco), that are currently being served by Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison using less green sources of energy. This is the largest utility-scale solar project of its kind and is one of the first to operate efficiently at high temperatures and pressures, demonstrating a critical step for the technology on a path to reliable, low cost, clean power.

Nowadays, many solar thermal power plants have made the move towards event-driven architecture (EDA) to meet the needs of solar energy production, and efficiently manage different sub-systems in place for real-time flow of solar energy and it’s transformation into electrical energy. Additionally, with techniques like edge computing and integrated dashboard systems, EDA could ensure the success of any solar energy system. For better understanding of the concepts involved, it would be a good idea to check out an EDA proficient company’s website (like this one here from Vantiq) and learn about the various facets of this architecture.

The Ivanpah Solar plant wasn’t cheap. The project cost 2.2 billion, but the price of the fuel it uses is free and saves 13 million tonnes of carbon over the next 25 years (or approximately 400,000 tonnes per year) compared to other alternatives. The plant will also generate 650 million in wages in its lifecycle.

The Ivanpah Solar plant is part of California’s new energy goal of being able to generate 1/3 of their electricity by 2020 via Renewable sources.

Ivanpah Solar Plant Photo Gallery

The project leased about five square miles of land from the Federal Government and was backed by a 1.6 billion dollar federal loan guarantee. Two hundred Desert tortoise (a protected species) had to be relocated by biologists at a cost of 22 million onto newly purchased conservation land.

Now that the Ivanpah Solar plant is a proven technology it can be replicated throughout the Southwest of the USA in many other locations.

Video: CBS report on Ivanpah World’s Largest Solar Plant Ready to Shine

Video: About Google’s investment in Ivanpah Solar


Green-Eco-EV News Reporting by Ken Green Burridge

kenneth green burridge

Kenneth Burridge test-drives electric Nissan LEAF in Melbourne Australia

EV of the Year Judge, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+, Linked in or website