Located in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, the 377-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is the world’s largest solar thermal facility. Created through the joint effort of NRG, Google, and BrightSource Energy, Ivanpah produces enough clean, renewable electricity to power 140,000 homes. At the time, Ivanpah nearly doubled the amount of commercial solar thermal energy generated in the United States.
Bechtel provided an early investment commitment for the $2 billion project and assisted BrightSource in obtaining a $1.37 billion DOE loan guarantee. We also also assisted BrightSource with various development activities such as job creation analysis to better understand the project’s impact on the community.
In addition, we 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 all within 36 months maintaining a safety record of 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
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.