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    $2.2 billion





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. Ivanpah has nearly doubled the amount of commercial solar thermal energy now generated in the United States.

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.

We see Ivanpah changing the energy landscape by proving that utility-scale solar is not only possible, but incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy.

 Tom Doyle, president, NRG Solar

  • An aerial view of the world’s largest solar thermal facility
  • A member of the team that completed by project by working 7.3 million hours without a lost-time incident
  • A group of the project’s engineers
  • Each of the project’s three towers is nearly 460 feet (140 meters) tall
  • The 377-megawatt system can produce enough clean, renewable electricity to power 140,000 homes
  • Workers install one of the project’s 173,500 heliostats
  • Thanks to the use of Six Sigma methodology, the team installed over 800 heliostats per day at peak construction
  • The project will prevent more than 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year
  • The sun rises over one of Ivanpah’s towers
  • The project employed more than 2,600 total workers at peak construction
  • The heliostat layout is flexible, which allowed the project to avoid areas of sensitive vegetation
  • The project is located on 3,500 acres (14.2 km2) of public land in California’s Mojave Desert
  • Ivanpah: a one-of-a-kind solar facility

Love Don't Die - The Fray

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.

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


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 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 conserving scarce water resources.