Largest ever thermal solar plant set to open in California
California solar power plants ignite birds mid-flight
The Mojave Solar Project (MSP) is a concentrated solar power (CSP) facility in the Mojave Desert in California, about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Barstow. Surrounding the hamlet of Lockhart, Mojave Solar is adjacent to Harper Lake and the SEGS VIII–IX solar plant. The site was originally reserved for the planned, never built, SEGS IX and XII. For 15 years following its construction in 1990, this was the largest commercial solar power plant in the world, generating around 160 megawatts at its peak. It is one of three separately owned sites within 40 miles of one another, that make up the nine solar fields in the Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS #1 and 2 are at Daggett, and #3 through 7 are at Kramer Junction). Harper Lake was the last of these built, and is designated as SEGS #8 and 9. It is still online, but has been surpassed by other newer facilities, including the Mojave Solar Project. MSP, with a combined nameplate capacity of 280 MW (net 250 MW), is made of two, independently-operable, solar fields. The power plant cost an estimated $1.6 billion in total and entered commercial operation in December 2014. The developer, Abengoa, has successfully secured a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the US government for the project.
The plant is expected to generate 617,000 MWh of power annually, enough power for more than 88,000 households and to prevent the emission of over 430 kilotons of CO2 a year. Pacific Gas & Electric has agreed to a 25-year power purchase agreement.