Solar Plant_CA_370mw_Ivanpah_BrightSource: Google invests $168 million in world’s largest solar tower

Google recently announced that it will invest $168 million to help fund a massive solar power project in California’s Mojave Desert; when completed the solar tower will be the world’s generating 392 megawatts of energy and powering 140,000 homes; the solar facility will be built by BrightSource Energy and has been dubbed the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System; BrightSource has already raised roughly $1.6 billion dollars including loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy and a $300 million investment from NRG Energy Inc.; the tower is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 400,000 tons per year and is scheduled to be completed in 2013

Google recently announced that it will invest $168 million to help fund a massive solar power project in California’s Mojave Desert.

When completed the solar tower will be the world’s generating 392 megawatts of energy and powering 140,000 homes.

The solar facility will be built by BrightSource Energy and has been dubbed the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS).

BrightSource has already raised roughly $1.6 billion dollars including loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy and a $300 million investment from NRG Energy Inc.

The Ivanpah system differs from existing solar farms in that it relies on a 450 foot tower system that channels the sun’s rays into a single solar receiver perched on top. The receiver generates steam at high pressure and temperatures more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit to drive a turbine and generator.

This system requires 90 to 95 percent less water than current solar thermal technology.

Rick Needham, the director of Green Business Operations at Google, said, “We’re excited to be making our largest clean energy investment to date. With this investment, we’re helping deploy the first commercial plant of a potentially transformative solar technology able to deliver clean energy at scale.”

Google is a major energy consumer, requiring large amounts of power to fuel its data centers. The company hopes to eventually power its centers with clean energy.

So far Google has invested $250 million in renewable energies and to date the Ivanpah project is Google’s largest single investment.

The tower is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 400,000 tons per year and is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

The project will nearly double the amount of commercial solar thermal electricity produced in the United States and is the first large scale tower project to be built in nearly twenty years.

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