World's Largest Solar Thermal Plant Generates First Electricity in California

September 27, 2013

The Ivanpah concentrating solar energy system, the largest solar thermal plant in the world,  has generated its first electricity from the 3,500-acre public land site in California's Mojave Desert. NRG Energy announced on September 24 that its Unit 1 station was synced to the power grid for the first time, achieving a major milestone for the project.

According to NRG Energy,  the successful test demonstrates the effectiveness of the station’s power tower technology, which uses large dish-like heliostats that track the sun throughout the day, solar field integration software, and a solar receiver steam generator.  Power generated from Ivanpah’s initial sync testing goes to Pacific Gas and Electric, which has a power purchase agreement for energy produced out of the plant’s Unit 1 station. Proof-of-concept testing will also be conducted at Unit 2 and 3 in the coming months. See the NRG press release.