On Feb. 13, 2014, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System was declared operational and began delivering solar electricity to California customers.
At full capacity, the facility’s trio of 450-foot high towers produces a gross total of 392 megawatts (MW) of solar power, which is 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.
Ivanpah, which is a joint effort between NRG Energy, Google and BrightSource Energy, accounts for nearly 30 percent of all solar thermal energy currently operational in the U.S., and is the largest solar project of its kind in the world.
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The project is the first to use BrightSource’s solar power tower technology to produce electricity, which includes 173,500 heliostats that follow the sun’s trajectory, solar field integration software and a solar receiver steam generator.
The solar energy harnessed from Ivanpah’s Units 1 and 3 are being sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under two long-term power purchase agreements, while the electricity from Unit 2 is being sold to Southern California Edison under a similar contract.