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Largest Solar Plant In The World Formally Opens

It has been a long time in the making but the USA can lay claim to being the location for the biggest solar power plant in the world, although for how long this will last remains to be seen. It is called the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System and is situated on a desert plain close to the Nevada – California border. It cost $2.3 billion to create and is owned by Google Inc, NRG Energy Inc and BrightSource Energy.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

The solar power plant is rather different to the sort of solar farms we see here in the UK as it uses in the region of 300,000 mirrors to reflect the sun towards three towers. Each of the mirrors is 10 feet in width and 7 feet tall and the towers are 459 feet in height. The mirrors cover an area totalling about 5 square miles. The area in which the solar power plant has been located is renowned for the amount of sunlight.

The towers contain boilers that have water in them and the heat of the reflected sunlight makes the water into steam. The steam is then moved via piping and through turbines that then generate the electricity.

The solar power plant is capable of producing almost 400 megawatts that is capable of providing sufficient electricity to around 140,000 properties. So, as you can see, this is a huge producer of electricity.

Apparently, the site covers an area that was inhabited by protected tortoises and there were some conservation issues that had to be resolved including the moving of the tortoises.

The system that has been adopted is called “solar thermal” and is estimated to cost about 81% more than a system using solar panels to generate the same amount of electricity.

Do you think we will see anything of this size in the UK? As always, we welcome any comments from our readers.

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