NRG Solar has announced that its Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System has officially produced its first output of energy when the Unit 1 station was synced to the power grid for the first time. This is an incredible milestone for the project.
The success of the test clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the stations power technology. The station includes large heliostats. Heliostats track the sun all day. The station also sports solar field integration and a solar receiver steam generator.
Tom Dyle, president of NRG Solar, said, “Given the magnitude and complexity of Ivanpah, it was very important that we successfully complete this milestone showing all systems were on track. We couldn’t be more excited about achieving ‘first sync,’ and we share this success with our project partners, BrightSource and Google (News - Alert), as well as Bechtel, which is responsible for engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning on the project.”
The power that was generated from the initial sync test will go to Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E (News - Alert) have a power purchase agreement for energy that is produced out of the plants Unit 1 Station. Unit 3's station is also sold to PG&E and Unit 2 is under a power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison (News - Alert). In the coming months proof-of-concept testing will begin at Units 2 and 3.
David Ramm, executive chairman of Bright Source Energy Inc., said, “This is yet another major milestone that we have successfully achieved as Ivanpah approaches completion. Ivanpah is the showcase project for BrightSource’s power tower technology and technical expertise. Validation at this scale demonstrates the viability of our technology as BrightSource increases focus on international markets and applications for concentrating solar power.”
“The achievement of this major milestone was possible through the tireless efforts of the entire project team – from the craft to the field engineers and technical experts,” president of Bechtel's power global business unit, Toby Seay, added. “With the cooperation of Ivanpah’s owners, we have been able to bring to life a world-class solar project that will help California meet its renewable energy goals safely and effectively.”
Rick Needham, director of energy and sustainability at Google, explained, “At Google we invest in renewable energy projects that have the potential to transform the energy landscape. Ivanpah is one of those projects. We’re excited about the project achieving this first sync – a landmark event along the path to completion. Congratulations to the many people who have worked so hard to get this far.”
Ivanpah is located in the Mohave Desert in California. It is the largest solar thermal plant in the world. It spans over 3,500 acres of public land. Once Ivanpah is fully up and functional it will generate enough electricity to power 140,000 homes a year. Its three power tower units will come close to doubling the amount of commercial solar thermal energy that is now operating in the United States.
Edited by Alisen Downey