Giant solar thermal project opens in California

The world’s largest solar thermal project has begun operating in California, USA. The Ivanpah solar farm is made of three towers each 450 feet high and surrounded by 173,500 mirrors […]

Register now!

By Vicky Ellis

The world’s largest solar thermal project has begun operating in California, USA.

The Ivanpah solar farm is made of three towers each 450 feet high and surrounded by 173,500 mirrors which reflect the sun’s rays onto them.

Called heliostats, these mirrors track the sun as it moves through the sky.

The whole project was built with a $1.6 billion (£960k) loan guarantee from the US Government’s Department of Energy.

At full whack the towers can produce 392 megawatts (MW), enough electricity to provide 140,000 California homes with energy and avoid 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Ivanpah is a joint effort between solar firm NRG, search engine Google and BrightSource Energy.

Rick Needham, Google’s Director of Energy and Sustainability congratulated the team for achieving commercial operation.

Tom Doyle, President of NRG Solar added: “We see Ivanpah changing the energy landscape by proving that utility-scale solar is not only possible but incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy.”