Located in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, the 377-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is the world’s largest solar thermal facility. Built by Bechtel, the facility, which is a joint effort of NRG, Google, and BrightSource Energy, will produce enough clean, renewable electricity to power 140,000 homes. Ivanpah nearly doubles the amount of commercial solar thermal energy now generated in the United States.
It cost $2.2 billion; the largest investor in the project is NRG Energy, a power generating company based in Princeton, New Jersey, that has contributed $300 million. Google has contributed $168 million.; the U.S. government provided a $1.6 billion loan guarantee, and the plant is built on public land.
In November 2014, Associated Press reported that the plant was producing only “about half of its expected annual output”. The California Energy Commission issued a statement blaming this on “clouds, jet contrails and weather”. Performance improved considerably in 2015 — to about 650 GWh, but ownership partner NRG Energy said in its November quarterly report that Ivanpah would likely not meet its contractual obligations to provide power to PG&E during the year, raising the risk of default on its Power Purchase Agreement. In March 2016, PG&E agreed not to declare the plant in default for at least four months, in return for “an undisclosed sum” from the owners.
Sources: Wikipedia, BrightSource Energy, Bechtel