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World’s largest solar plant now running in California

Ivanpah

(Credit: Ivanpah)

The world’s largest solar thermal plant is now operating in the California desert. The Ivanpah Solar Generating System is the product of NRG, Google and BrightSource Energy, who received a $1.3 billion loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy’s loan office. Currently, Ivanpah already accounts for about 30 percent of the solar energy in the world, and this new facility will provide energy for up to 140,000 homes in the surrounding area. This 5.5 square mile lot, with three 450-foot tall towers and about 350,000 large mirrors will output a total of 392 megawatts of power. With this clean energy, the company has calculated the impact is equivalent to taking 72,000 cars off of the road. In addition to the environmental benefits, the plant has already created thousands of jobs, and it is also expected that the company will pay out about $650 million in salaries over the next 30 years. Electricity produced from this plant is going to be bought by PG&E and Edison International, both of which have 25-year contracts with Ivanpah.

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