Environment Magazine

Are Large Solar Projects in California Running out of Steam?

Posted on the 14 January 2014 by Jim Winburn @civicbeebuzz

0113_newswire_energy_w100_res72 SACRAMENTO – The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, under construction in the California Mojave Desert near the Nevada border, will reportedly be the world’s largest solar energy project in the world when it is finished.

The plant’s 170,000 heliostat mirrors will focus the sun’s rays on tanks of water, producing steam to run a conventional turbine that produces electricity. Large-scale projects like this were once the focal point of solar’s future, attracting big investors, like Google, tax breaks from government and the ire of environmentalists who protested the disruption and destruction of fragile desert habitats.

That is changing. While solar is still a hot commodity, especially in California where state law compels utilities to get a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, there has been a decided shift from large projects to mid-size and small ones.

California’s boom in approval of large solar projects was short-lived. One project was approved in 2008, 10 in 2010 and one more in 2011, according to the California Energy Commission’s website on Large Solar Energy Projects. The site was last updated September 14, 2012.

Full story by Ken Broder at AllGov.com.

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