James Beyer Photography

Ivanpah Solar Power Facility

Situated at the base of Clark Mountain, just across the Nevada/California border from Primm, Nevada, the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility glimmers in the desert.  The plant consists of 347,000 mirrors in three arrays of heliostats, each focusing solar energy on a boiler that sits atop a 450 foot high tower.  The boilers generate steam that produces power by driving a turbine.  The heat collectors shimmer and glow even in bright sunlight, and the glare of boiler towers is blinding.

The plant has been criticized for everything from bird kills to displacement of the desert tortoise, and its first few years of operation were plagued by inefficiency and the inability to meet its output goal of 392 megawatts.  That has recently turned around and the plant now produces much closer to its design output.  Ivanpah was commissioned in 2014 at a project cost of approximately $2.5 billion, making it the largest and most expensive power plant in the world at the time.

Shimmering In The Desert - December, 2016
Boiler Tower - December, 2016
Boiler Tower Heat Collector - December, 2016
Heliostats - December, 2016
Inferno - December, 2016
Machine In The Garden - December, 2016

All images © James E. Beyer