/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Ivanpah solar plant starts delivering electricity (pictures)

A solar thermal plant -- owned by NRG Energy, Google, and BrightSource Energy -- is pumping power to California's electric grid.

Carrie.jpg
Carrie Mihalcik
3247_ivanpah_mingasson_1_620w.jpg
1 of 10 BrightSource Energy

Ivanpah solar thermal plant

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System -- jointly owned by NRG Energy, Google, and BrightSource Energy -- started delivering power to California's electric grid on Thursday. The solar thermal plant, which covers approximately 3,500 acres in Southern California, creates high-temperature steam to drive power generators.

4066_ivanpah_mingasson_620.jpg
2 of 10 BrightSource Energy

Three towers

The plant has three 450-foot high towers that can produce a gross total of 392 megawatts of solar power, according to plant operator NRG Energy.
4649_ivanpah_mingasson_620.jpg
3 of 10 BrightSource Energy

Many, many mirrors

Surrounding the towers are more than 300,000 software-controlled mirrors.
sedc2_620w.jpg
4 of 10 BrightSource Energy

'Power tower' tech

The mirrors reflect the sunlight to boilers at the top of the towers, which creates high-temperature steam that then turns a turbine, according to BrightSource.
4199_ivanpah_mingasson_620.jpg
5 of 10 BrightSource Energy

Pumping electricity

The Ivanpah plant generates enough electricity to supply 140,000 homes, said NRG Energy.
4266_ivanpah_mingasson_620.jpg
6 of 10 BrightSource Energy

Pipes

The plant accounts for nearly 30 percent of all solar thermal energy in the US and is the largest solar project of its kind in the world, according to NRG Energy.
4689_ivanpah_mingasson_620.jpg
7 of 10 BrightSource Energy

Reflecting the sun

Construction on the plant, which sits on federal land, started in October 2010 and cost $2.2 billion.
4997_ivanpah_mingasson_620.jpg
8 of 10 BrightSource Energy

Mirror, mirror in the desert

An up-close look at the plant's garage-door size mirrors.
4714_ivanpah_mingasson_620.jpg
9 of 10 BrightSource Energy

Waiting for rays

Ivanpah is the first plant to use BrightSource's "power tower" technology to produce electricity, said NRG Energy.
unit_1_panoramic_620w.jpg
10 of 10 BrightSource Energy

Mountain backdrop

Located in Ivanpah Dry Lake, Calif., the plant sits on public desert land.

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
The new Genesis G90 looks incredible

More Galleries

The new Genesis G90 looks incredible

6 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

65 Photos
The best Christmas movies and where to watch them

More Galleries

The best Christmas movies and where to watch them

18 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
Best dating apps of 2021

More Galleries

Best dating apps of 2021

13 Photos