Ivanpah Solar Power Facility
See how the most advanced solar-powered energy generation site produces electricity
The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility is a brand-new solar thermal power site located in the Mojave Desert in western USA. The facility, which consists of three state-ofthe-art thermal power plants lies 64 kilometres (40 miles) south-west of Las Vegas and has a total capacity of 392 megawatts, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Ivanpah achieves this energy with over 170,000 Sun-tracking heliostats (mirrored panels), which receive a vast quantity of direct sunlight over the 1,415-hectare (3,500-acre) site and redirect it onto steam-producing thermal boilers mounted on top of three receiver towers. This steam is then used directly to power electricity-producing turbines (see ‘Ivanpah step-by-step’ below to follow the process).
Construction of the Ivanpah project began in October 2010 and is to officially open in the latter part of 2013, with the site set to contribute to California’s existing electricity grid. However, the project has been seen by some environmentalist organizations as controversial due to its construction over an established ecosystem. In particular over 200 desert tortoises needed to be relocated during the build, with a cost of $55,000 per tortoise needed for the move.
Ivanpah Facility Stats
- Heliostats: 173,500
- Land Area: 14.2 Km Square
- Reduction in Co2 (Tons/Year): 400,000
- Maximum Capacity: 392 MW
- Annual Power Generation: 1,079,232 MWh
- Thermal Plants: 3