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Really, Really Big Solar Power Project Counts Google Among Its Backers

The Ivanpah solar power plant is a work in progress along a stretch of California desert just west of the Nevada border.

Earlier this week, Google announced it will invest $168 million in the 370-megawatt (MW) project, which relies on solar thermal technology that's sometimes informally called the "power tower" (pictured left). This announcement comes after the Internet search company last week made known its $5 million investment in a Germany-based solar energy facility.

Unlike photovoltaic (PV) systems, which convert the sun's rays directly into electricity,

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Mojave Solar Power Project Scaled Back

Posted by Margaret Collins In Tuesday, February 16 2010 under: Solar Thermal, Commercial Solar, CSP, desert, California Solar, BrightSource

Last week, San Bernardino county officials sought to stop progress on BrightSource Energy's giant concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the Mojave Desert. Land mitigation was the main complaint this time around, but BrightSource has been drawing flak for habitat destruction (desert tortoise) and water use (despite using a "dry loop" cooling technology, the solar thermally-generated power will of course still use a lot of the desert's most precious resource). In order to address these concerns, the solar energy company has released a new plan for the Ivanpah, California facility. The new design reduces the total solar capacity of the project from 440 MW to 392 MW (a loss of 48 MW). According to Renewable Energy World, the new plan will:

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San Bernardino Stalls Desert Solar Project

Posted by Margaret Collins In Friday, February 12 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Thermal, desert, California Solar, BrightSource

Yesterday's move by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to stall BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah project is the latest episode in the drama of desert solar power development. It's a drama that stars land usage, but really it's an ensemble cast that includes corporate interests, state profits, and economic stimulus and job creation. (Not to mention the desert tortoise.)

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