World Largest Solar Energy Power Plant - futurestuffs.com

World Largest Solar Energy Power Plant

In the Mojave Desert of Southern California, World Largest Solar Energy Power Plant the 377-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is the world’s largest solar thermal facility. Built by Bechtel, the facility, which is a joint effort of NRG, Google, and BrightSource Energy will produce enough clean, renewable electricity to power 140,000 homes.

World Largest Solar Energy Power Plant - futurestuffs.com

World Largest Solar Energy Power Plant

Since it began commercial operation in late 2013, the $2.2 billion Ivanpah was supposed to light the way to a brighter energy future. The technology it employs called concentrated solar power (CSP), or solar thermal energy, was considered a game-changer. And Ivanpah was the largest plant of its type ever attempted.

In 2010, President Obama touted the project, which was expected to power 140,000 homes in California, as “the largest such plant in the world,” beating out the likes of those in China and India. At its ribbon cutting ceremony in February of last year, United States Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz called it“a shining example of how America is becoming a world leader in solar energy.”

World Largest Solar Energy Power Plant - futurestuffs.com

World Largest Solar Energy Power Plant

Its performance is being closely watched because power towers are seen as the best bet for concentrating solar power. Although the technology has been hammered by cheap, increasingly productive photovoltaics in the past five years (and has run into environmental issues), its advocates hold out hope that its compatibility with energy storage could make it a winner. Ivanpah wasn’t built with storage, but SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes plant was. After seemingly endless delays, that plant, in Nevada, supposedly will come online this summer.

BrightSource and NRG, while admitting the plant has had its share of hiccups, have disputed the notion that Ivanpah is falling well short of expected generation, saying that all along they knew it would take up to four years to hit full stride. That claim had seemed a bit dodgy, seemingly coming only after the poor early start was exposed.