In a few weeks, the largest solar plant of its kind in the world will start producing power in California’s Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will supply both Northern and Southern California, inching the state one step closer to its ambitious renewable energy goal.
But like many of the large solar projects being built in the Mojave, Ivanpah ran into delays and controversy over its environmental impact. Now, in an effort to streamline the process, state officials are trying to broker an agreement between conservation groups and solar companies on a path forward for renewable energy.
Ivanpah doesn’t use the solar technology most of us think of – those dark, silicon panels sitting on rooftops. The project harnesses the sun’s heat, reflecting off a field of 170,000 mirrors. They shimmer across a dry, dusty valley about five miles away from the California-Nevada state line, surrounding three 400-foot concrete towers. Listen to an audio report here.
BTW, in case you missed it here are some updated stats on solar power:
“The average price of a solar panel has declined by 60% since the beginning of 2011, according to GTM Research. And, according to CleanTechnica, a website dedicated to renewable energy news, the price of solar power has fallen rom $76.67 per watt in 1977 to 74 cents today.
This year, solar power was the second leading source of new electricity, according to CleanTechnica.
The amount of power produced by solar arrays in the U.S. is skyrocketing as installations soar. This year, it’s expected that the amount of power solar arrays produce will be equal to that of 10 nuclear power plants or 10 gigawatts (a GW is equal to 1 billion watts), according to GTM.
As a whole, the U.S. installed 4.3GW of PV solar arrays this year, a 27% increase over 2012.”