In April 2011, the Department of Energy issued three loan guarantees for $1.6 billion in total to finance Ivanpah, a 392-MW concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. It started commercial operations in January 2014 and Secretary Moniz participated in the dedication ceremony in February 2014. As the world’s largest CSP facility upon completion, Ivanpah nearly doubled the amount of solar thermal energy produced in the United States in previous years.
Ivanpah uses power tower solar thermal technology to generate power by creating high-temperature steam to drive a conventional steam turbine. Mirrors are used to concentrate sunlight and create steam, which is then converted to electricity. Ivanpah employs an innovative system of software-controlled mirrors—called heliostats—that follow the sun and reflect it onto water-filled boilers atop three separate 450 foot towers on the site. When the sunlight hits the boilers, the water inside is heated and creates high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to conventional steam turbines, which generate electricity.
Ivanpah created 1,000 construction jobs and is expected to support 61 permanent jobs. In addition, the majority of the project’s supply chain was sourced in the United States, with components and services coming from at least 18 states.
Ivanpah is expected to generate 940,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy per year and prevent 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
BrightSource Energy, NRG Energy, Google
Ivanpah Dry Lake, California
Loan Amount 1
Projected Annual Generation 2
Permanent U.S. Jobs Supported
U.S. Construction Jobs Supported 3
CO2 Emissions Prevented Annually
500,000 Metric Tons
All information up-to-date as of June 2017.
1 Approximate amount of the loan facility approved at closing including principal and any capitalized interest.
2 Calculated using the project's and NREL Technology specific capacity factors. For cases in which NREL's capacity factors do not encompass project's specific design and operation, project specific capacity factors are used.3 Estimated at the time of closing.