The World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Looks Absolutely Majestic

Who knew that renewable energy could look so beautiful?

1. There’s a new solar plant in the Californian desert, which you really should take a look at.

Ethan Miller / Getty

2. Why? Because it is the largest solar thermal power plant in the world.

Ethan Miller / Getty

That isn’t three photos merged into one. This is just one photo.

3. This is the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in California, which opened just last week.

Ethan Miller / Getty

More than 347,000 mirrors focus on three tall towers, which contain water. The water is heated to extremely high temperatures, producing steam which is then used to power turbines.

4. In all it will generate 392 megawatts of energy, producing enough electricity to power 140,000 Californian homes.

Steve Marcus / Reuters

5. More than 3,500 acres of land was used to build this system. As a result, it will save more than 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Ethan Miller / Getty

6. This is what each of the boiler towers look like up close, in case you were wondering.

Steve Marcus / Reuters

7. How much did this all cost? $2.2 billion. A federal loan provided guarantee $1.6 billion funding. NRG Energy has invested $300 million and Google invested $168 million in the project.

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8. See look? GOOGLE.

Steve Marcus / Reuters

9. These mirrors, called heliostats, are computer controlled, so are able to tilt according to the position of the sun.

Ethan Miller / Getty

10. To get a sense of how big these heliostats are, compare the size of these helostats with one of the cars in the centre of this photo.

Steve Marcus / Reuters

11. I mean, you wouldn’t want to get lost somewhere like this.

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Plus you would be in the desert, so you’re likely to be dead soon too.

12. Not everyone is thrilled about the project. There are concerns that birds are being burnt to death from flying between the heliostats and the towers…

Ethan Miller / Getty

… whilst other environmentalists are concerned that the location of the plant will affect the yearly migration of a threatened tortoise species.

13. Still, it’s a lot better than a huge oil plant, owned by a big evil Mr Burns type character in an evil lair.

Ethan Miller / Getty

<3 you renewable energy.

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