Building the largest solar thermal project in the world
With our parent company NRG Energy, Inc., along with Google, BrightSource Energy and other investors, we are building what will be the largest solar thermal project in the world when completed in 2013. Located near Ivanpah, Calif., in the Mojave Desert, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will generate at least 392 MW of electricity — nearly double the amount of commercial solar thermal energy now generated in the United States.
The project, comprised of three separate plants to be built in phases, has begun construction on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and witnessed its first grid sync in Fall 2013. The project received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Electricity from Ivanpah will be sold under multiple power-purchase agreements, each of 25-30 years duration with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The electricity generated by all three plants is enough to support a yearly average of 140,000 homes, and more than twice that number when operating at maximum capacity during the peak hours of the day.
Ivanpah is the first large-scale solar thermal plant to be built in California in 20 years, supporting California’s goal of 33 percent renewable power generation by 2020.
The project also provides a boost to the local economy by creating a 2,650 construction jobs at its peak and 86 operations and maintenance jobs. It also supports 76 supply-chain jobs across 17 states.
Collaboration with The Fray
A Grammy-nominated rock band and the world’s largest solar power facility may not appear to have any common ground, but connections between the facility and the band quickly became clear. The Fray’s new album, Helios – named for the Greek sun god – uses the solar project as the backdrop for its album cover and the lyric video for the single, “Love Don’t Die”. For years, The Fray has revealed an obvious passion for music, but that has been coupled with a commitment to renewable energy projects. What began as a mutual respect between the two quickly became a deeper connection. Lead singer Isaac Slade summed it up perfectly.
“Ivanpah looks like the album sounds,” – innovative, inspiring and clean.
Benefits and Workforce
- Clean, renewable generation will avoid the emission of 450,000 tons of carbon annually into the atmosphere; 13.5 million tons over the plant’s first 30 years
- Uses dry cooling for steam condensing, which minimizes water consumption
- 16 new hires were previously unemployed
- 15 new hires are veterans
- Eight hires were transferred and retrained from NRG-owned Dunkirk Generating Station in New York, an older coal-fired plant slated for mothball
NRG Solar is the lead investor on the project, along with Google, BrightSource Energy and other investors.