World's Largest Solar Plant Up and Running
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, located in the Mojave Desert, began operations last week after several years of planning and construction. To date, the plant is the largest of its kind and reportedly generates 30 percent of all solar energy developed in the United States.
Taking up more than 5 square miles, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System consists of three 450-foot-tall towers and almost 175,500 mirrors the size of garage doors. The mirrors pivot in order to track the sun and boil the water at the top of the towers to produce 392 megawatts of power -- nearly 30 percent of all solar energy produced in the United States. The plant will provide clean energy to 140,000 homes in California.
Ivanpah is a multi-billion dollar project funded by BrightSource Energy, NRG, Google, Bechtel, and aided by a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.
"President Obama and the Department of Energy are committed to ensuring that all sources of energy are competitive in a carbon-constrained economy," U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz declared. "This is why we have already invested more than $6 billion in carbon capture and sequestration technologies and recently announced up to $8 billion in available loan guarantees for advanced fossil energy projects that lower emissions. This is why we provided more than $8.4 billion in loans to the auto industry to allow our domestic auto producers to retool their American factories to produce cleaner and more efficient vehicles. And this is why we have committed more than $24 billion in loan guarantees for clean energy projects across the country -- including right here at Ivanpah."
Although larger solar projects are under way, Ivanpah has become the standard in the U.S. solar industry.