Is the Solar Energy Industry Shifting from Big Solar to Rooftops?

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There’s been a lot of talk this week about the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station, which has officially begun generating electricity. The plant’s primary owners are BrightSource Energy, NRG Energy, and Google.

NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar, LLC, announced yesterday that the plant is now operational and delivering solar power to California customers. The largest solar thermal plant in the world, the huge solar farm covers about five square miles of federal land in the California desert. About 350,000 large mirrors reflect sunlight onto boilers that sit on top of three massive towers. The extreme heat turns the water into steam, which is fed to steam to turbines.

At full capacity, the plant can produce 392 MW of solar power, enough electricity to power about 140,000 homes a year.

Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar, said in a statement, “Cleantech innovations such as Ivanpah are critical to establishing America’s leadership in large-scale, clean-energy technology that will keep our economy globally competitive over the next several decades. 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.” . . .