The Ivanpah project is currently the world's largest operational solar thermal power plant.

The Ivanpah project is currently the world's largest operational solar thermal power plant. Ivanpah produces electricity the same way that most of the world's electricity is produced, which is creating high-temperature steam to turn a conventional turbine. However, instead of burning fossil fuels to create the steam, Ivanpah uses the sun as fuel. The 377-megawatt net solar thermal facility consists of three separate solar tower power plants providing electricity to approximately 140,000 homes. It is located near Ivanpah Dry Lake in San Bernardino County on about 3,500 acres of federal land in California's Mojave Desert managed by the Federal. Bureau of Land Management.

The Ivanpah plants use BrightSource Energy's "Luz Power Tower 550 technology" (LPT 550):

"The LPT 550 solar system produces electricity the same way as traditional power plants – by creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. BrightSource technology uses thousands of mirrors called heliostats to reflect sunlight onto a receiver being developed by Riley Power Inc. filled with water that sits atop a tower. When the sunlight hits the receiver, the water inside is heated and creates high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional turbine, which generates electricity"

The California Energy Commission licensed the Ivanpah project in 2010 as part of the Energy Commission's commitment to support clean renewable energy, reinvigorate the state's economy and bring jobs to California. The project received a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

See more information about Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.

A construction worker installs a heliostat at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Unit 1 tower and power block Aerial photo of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Solar Electric Generating System.

Photos courtesy of BrightSource Energy



  • The facility generates enough renewable energy to power 101,000 average California homes each year, based on Commission calculations.
  • The Commission expects the project to reduce approximately 340,650 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to taking 62,250 cars off the road every year.
  • During construction, the project reached a peak of 2,636 construction workers and support staff. The project will provide approximately $650 million in wages and employee earnings during the plan's 30 years of operation. It will also provide $300 million in local and state taxes during the same time period.

Key Developers and Partners

  • NRG Solar
  • Bechtel Corporation
  • Google
  • BrightSource Energy
  • California Energy Commission
  • U.S. Department of Energy

Type of Project

Solar thermal


The facility became operational in 2013 and formally opened in February 2014.


Map of Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California


Alta Wind Farm Powers Homes


CleanWorld Sacramento BioDigester

Anaerobic digester

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm

Solar photovoltaic

Electric Vehicles International

Electric vehicle manufacturing

Eos Energy Storage

Energy Storage

Public Electric Vehicle Charging at the South Coast Air Quality Management District

Electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Santa Rita Jail

Smart grid/solar/wind/fuel cell/advanced energy storage/solar thermal

Shiloh Wind Power Plant

Wind Power

Solar Star Projects


UC Davis West Village

Zero net energy mixed use, multi-unit housing communities