Photo Essay: Ivanpah CSP Plant Inauguration

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station was inaugurated on Feb. 13 in California. Our news story on the launch included several photos, but below are additional shots of the world’s largest concentrating solar power plant taken during the event.

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The plant comprises three units with a net capacity of 377 MW. When the plant is operating, the concentrated sunlight focused on the towers is intense enough to create a visible halo around the boilers. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

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More than 173,000 heliostats, each mounting a pair of mirrors, focus sunlight on the boilers at the top of the towers. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

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The boilers at the top of the towers are painted black to maximize their absorption of sunlight. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

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When the towers are operational, the boilers glow like miniature suns, visible for miles around. So much sunlight is directed at the towers that the formerly black boilers appear white from reflected energy. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

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Most of the heliostats were mounted directly into the desert soil without grading or foundations, to minimize the impact on the local ecosystem. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

Each tower employs an air-cooled condenser to cool the turbine exhaust, keeping the plant’s water consumption to a minimum. Ivanpah’s water needs are mainly for cleaning the mirrors on the heliostats. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

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During the inauguration, the mirrors around Unit 1 were aligned to create visible logos of the project partners (here, EPC contractor Bechtel) in the reflections. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

BrightSource Energy was the project’s initial developer. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

NRG Energy will operate Ivanpah, supplying power to Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

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Google invested $168 million in Ivanpah in support of its clean energy goals. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

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U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz attended the event and delivered the keynote address at the inauguration ceremony. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

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Tom (in the blue shirt at right) takes a quick “solar selfie” in one of the heliostats. Source: POWER/Tom Overton

Thomas Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor (@thomas_overton, @POWERmagazine).



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