The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is designed to do exactly that. Now under construction, Ivanpah utilizes proven solar thermal technology and a low environmental impact design to power California’s clean energy economy with cost-competitive and reliable solar power.
BrightSource’s LPT solar thermal systems being deployed at Ivanpah use a air-cooling system. This dry-cooling system allows us to reduce water usage by more than 90% over competing solar thermal technologies using conventional wet cooling systems.
The 377 megawatt (gross) solar complex uses mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers atop power towers and will consist of three separate plants and provide electricity to PG&E and Southern California Edison. This number, 377, also represents current atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in parts per million (ppm). To avert dangerous climate disruption, climate experts recommend reducing carbon dioxide concentrations to below 450 ppm.
The Ivanpah project will employ 170,000 low-impact heliostats. The entire Ivanpah project features an industry-leading low-impact design, resulting in maximum land-use efficiency. Our heliostat technology places individual mirrors onto metal poles that are driven into the ground, which allows vegetation to coexist underneath and around our mirrors; reduces the need for extensive land grading; and uses far fewer concrete pads than other technologies. The project is also thoughtfully sited near existing roads and transmission lines and in an area where human activity has already left its mark.
The electricity generated by all three plants at the Ivanpah solar complex is enough to serve more than 140,000 homes in California.
Total employee wages over the 30-year life of the plant are estimated to be $650 million.
More than 13.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided over the 30-year life cycle of the plant, equivalent to taking 2.1 million cars off the road. This solar complex also cuts major air pollutants by 85% compared to new natural gas-fired power plants.
Construction of the Ivanpah project will take place in phases from 2010-2013 and create 2,100 union jobs at peak of construction and 86 operations and maintenance jobs.
The Ivanpah project has received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee by the US Department of Energy to help fund this project. When construction is complete in 2013, the solar complex will nearly double the amount of commercial solar thermal electricity produced in the U.S. today.