It’s about ready, but it may be late…Sunday, June 3rd, 2012 by Roberto Saracco
The largest solar power generator should be completed this year in Ivanpah, CA (although the closest city is Las Vegas, Nevada).
In the photo on the side the first mirrors are visible. There will be 3 giant solar power harvesters using over 300,000 mirrors (computer controlled, of course) expected to generate 370MW of electrical power through the conversion of steam generated by heating three big boilers at the top of three towers 459 feet tall. The steam produced by the sun rays focussed on the boilers by the mirrors operates the turbine for generating electrical power.
The project was started in 2007 but got delayed because of the need to relocate desert tortoises who lived in that area. Now it is reaching completion. But, as someone is saying, this technology may no longer be the best one to harvest solar power.
What happened in these last three years is that the cost of solar panels (that directly convert solar light into electricity) have become much cheaper and are cutting the grass under the production of steam through focussing mirrors.
At the same time others point out that this technology extends the usability of the solar energy into the night since the steam can be preserved once the sun sets and keep powering the turbine through the night. On the contrary, solar panels stops working as the day approaches dusk.
Still, it is amazing to see the speed of evolution and how this may change the economics in a very short time.