Ivanpah solar energy system is now online

February 18, 2014 0 By Angie Bergenson

World’s largest solar power system begins producing electricity in California

The world’s largest solar energy system has been activated. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is based in California, a state that has been a strong supporter of solar power for several years. The project is the largest of its kind, using concentrated sunlight to generate electrical power. The energy system has been backed by several large companies, including Google. The system was developed by NRG Energy, Bechtel, and BrightSource Energy.

Ivanpah boasts of a maximum energy capacity of 392MW

The Ivanpah energy system has a maximum capacity of 392 megawatts. Much of this electricity is sold to the California energy grid, which then distributes this energy among consumers. Ivanpah is the country’s first utility-scale concentrated solar power system, but it may not be the last. The U.S. has been focusing more heavily on renewable energy in recent years and several solar projects are inching closer to completion. Some of these projects are only slightly smaller in energy capacity than the Ivanpah system.

Dry-cooling technology could limit Ivanpah’s consumption of state’s water supplies

California is currently suffering under the weight of a severe drought. Water resources have become strained, which is actually somewhat problematic for some energy systems. Typically, water is used as a coolant for many solar energy systems. The Ivanpah system, however, makes use of dry-cooling technology, which reduces its use of water significantly. The new energy system is expected to help reduce energy costs throughout California.

Solar power may help boost economic activity throughout California well into the future

Solar power has become quite popular throughout the U.S., but California remains a leader in terms of installed capacity. The state has aggressively supported solar power for several years now and believes that solar projects can help establish some degree of economic stability. Projects like Ivanpah have created thousands of new jobs, both temporary and permanent. These new jobs have contributed to higher levels of economic activity over the past few years. As more solar projects begin producing electrical power, lower energy costs are also expected to generate some economic activity.