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World’s largest concentrated solar power plant now operational

With a capacity of 392 megawatts, the Ivanpah concentrated solar power station has begun producing and providing energy.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, set up in the California Mojave Desert, is the world’s largest concentrated solar thermal power station, and started delivering solar electricity on 13 February. At full capacity, the facility produces 392 megawatts (MW) of solar power, enough electricity to provide 140,000 California homes with clean energy and avoid 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, equal to removing 72,000 vehicles off the road.

 

Here are the figures that made the Californian facility the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant:

 

  • 173,500 heliostats, solar mirrors that follow the sun trajectory all day;
  • the central tower is 137 metres tall;
  • 14 square km surface;
  • 3,000 site workers employed;
  • 8.35 million man-hours completed;
  •  650 million dollars (475 million euros) in salaries for construction and operations is expected to be paid over the next 30 years.

 

The Californian concentrated solar power plant, whose construction works started in October 2010, is a joint effort between three large American companies: NrgBrightsource energy and Google. The project received a 1.6 billion dollars loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office.

Here’s a photo gallery with stunning images of the facility:

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