Biggest solar thermal plant in the world is already working!

Solar world enters new year with big impact - Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California has been ready for use since yesterday. It's the biggest solar thermal plant in the world, which has 30% of all US solar thermal energy and can bring power to 140 000 of nearby households by generating 392 MW of power. It consists of 300 000 mirrors controlled by computer, which is 7 feet high and 10 feet wide. They are redirecting sun power to three 459-foot towers.

Plant was build thanks to cooperation of NRG, Google, BrightSource Energy and Bechtel (engineering, procurement, and construction contractor) companies. As you can see, Google again shows, that they are really into RES technologies – we mentioned about this in our other article.

 

Ivanpah plant is not only business or environmentally friendly investment, it has also other purpose:

“Cleantech innovations such as Ivanpah are critical to establishing America’s leadership in large-scale, clean-energy technology that will keep our economy globally competitive over the next several decades”

as president of NRG Solar - Tom Doyle said. USA shows again for the rest of the world, that it is a powerful solar market player not only in households sector, but also biggest initiatives in solar commercial applications – so we could define Ivanpah plant also as a cherry on the top of the cake in this case.

Interesting and no less important fact is historical meaning of Ivanpah. It's kind of a milestone on solar world technology development road – it's the first big commercial solar plant on such a scale. Harnessed energy has been already sold to Pacific Gas & Electric (towers 1 and 3) and Southern California Edison (tower 2) under long term power purchase agreements.

None from true, big business players would throw their own money down the drain. I guess, that anyone can't call mentioned brands as inexperienced – they know well what they are doing. So, the conclusion is quite simple: such investment was profitable and it's worth to consider solar energy as a source of real income! What malcontents and doubters will say now to defend their (often) stubborn opinions - maybe that those companies built it for image purposes? Yeah, right... For shareholders counts only ROI.

Another interesting aspect of this subject is discussion which it provokes in people's comments. Some of them criticize the idea as unprofitable and compare it with nuclear power plants, pointing out large territory „waste”, high costs of construction and low efficiency. When I was reading this stream of moaning I thought about one, fundamental thing – do they know that solar energy market and technology are quite young? Few decades bring us significant development in whole market branches – Ivanpah could be treated as just another step in evolution path to the best, most environmentally friendly way of energy acquisition. Today we can't even imagine to compare on equal level, technology from 10 years ago to that produced nowadays – but in some place in time there need to be a beginning, such as cornerstone in foundation. Is it so hard to get it?

Territory „waste”? - think about first computer

Efficiency? - compare development of processors

Price? - check cost of solar systems now and 5-10 years ago

Once more thing - check again all those values after another 5-10 years.

Maybe I am wrong, maybe I am too optimistic – if I am - please, correct me. What do you think about this subject?

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