35°33'51"N | 115°28'22"W

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, California, USA Overview

Scope of Work Project management, EPC, startup services
Value $2.2 billion
Schedule 2010–2013
Business Power

World's largest solar thermal energy facility delivers clean, renewable electricity

Located in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, the 377-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is the world’s largest solar thermal facility. Built by Bechtel, the facility, which is a joint effort of NRG, Google, and BrightSource Energy, will produce enough clean, renewable electricity to power 140,000 homes. 

Inside the Project

Bechtel designed, procured, and built the project’s trio of 450-foot- (137-meter-) high power towers and successfully placed 2,200-ton boilers on top of each tower. In addition, the team executed the project safely, working 36 months and 7.3 million hours without a lost-time incident.

Take a tour

Bechtel built and procured Ivanpah’s solar field, which includes 173,500 heliostats that follow the sun’s trajectory, solar-field-integration software, and solar-receiver steam generators. The team leveraged Six Sigma, the company's proven methodology for quality and performance, to tackle first-of-a-kind construction elements and to uncover efficiencies throughout the project. As a result, for example, the team exceeded its goal of installing 500 heliostats per day and achieved more than 800 heliostat installations per day at peak construction.

"The scale and complexity of the Ivanpah project presented first-of-a-kind construction challenges that required innovative thinking and execution at every level."―Jim Ivany, Bechtel

The Ivanpah project inspired the Grammy-nominated group, The Fray, to name its latest album Helios, after the ancient Greek god of the sun. The video for the song “Love Don’t Die” was shot at Ivanpah. 

Why it matters

Preserving a sensitive environment

The low-impact heliostat layout is flexible, allowing the solar field to be built around the natural contours of the land and avoid areas of sensitive vegetation. The project uses air-cooled condensers to convert turbine steam back into water, thus conservine scarce water resources.

Family matters

Family members of Ivanpah construction workers and project staff visited the site to see what their loved ones were helping to build.

We see Ivanpah changing the energy landscape by proving that utility-scale solar not only possible, but incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy."—Tom Doyle, president, NRG Solar

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