The world’s largest solar plant was formally opened February 13, 2014 in California’s Mojave Desert,
approximately 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will have
300.000, 7ft by 10 ft, computer-controlled mirrors. The system will be able to produce 392 megawatts,
enough to supply electricity to 140,000 homes. It will save 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year,
equivalent to removing 72,000 vehicles from the road.
BrightSource Energy, Google, and NRG Energy jointly own it. It cost $2.2 billion, NRG Energy invested
$300 million, Google another $168 million and the U.S. government provided a $1.6 billion loan guarantee.
The plant produces electricity by creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. Thousands of mirrors
reflect sunlight onto a receiver filled with water that sits atop a tower. When this sunlight hits the receiver,
the water inside is heated and high temperature steam is created. This steam is then piped to a conventional
turbine, which in turn generates electricity.
In August 2014, Power Magazine named the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System “Plant of the Year”