The world's largest solar thermal electric plant has begun operating its three generating units, which will deliver enough clean energy to power more than 140,000 homes in Northern and Southern California. Power companies are motivated to buy renewable energy because California has mandated that renewable resources account for 33 percent of their generation by the end of 2020.
Solar thermal electric technology uses reflectors to magnify the sun's rays to create steam for electrical generation. The Ivanpah site in the Mojave Desert spans 3,500 acres and contains 347,000 sun-facing mirrors called heliostats. Three units produce a gross output of 392 megawatts. This privately funded project costs more than $2 billion. [enr]
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