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World's biggest solar thermal power plant opens in the Mojave Desert

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February 15
12:39 PM 2014

The Ivanpah solar power plant formally opened in the Mojave Desert on Thursday. The said facility is the largest solar thermal power plant in the world, according to VentureBeat.

Andrea Luecke, Executive Director of the Solar Foundation, said: "This is a very big deal, a milestone, a game change. People like to say that solar energy is not a reality, that it's not ready for prime time but now Ivanpah is producing 400 megawatts."

The facility is officially called the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. The plant began generating power on New Year's Eve. It is jointly owned by BrightSource Energy, NRG Energy, and Google Ventures. The owners sell the energy produced to South California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric. The $2.2 billion plant can provide enough power for an average of 140,000 homes per year. On its own, Ivanpah accounts for one-third of the total solar thermal energy being produced in the US, the report detailed.

Ivanpah is the first major solar plant that uses the solar power tower technology of BrightSource. The project was also made possible with the help of a $1.6-billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, VentureBeat reported.

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