The agreement, which requires approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, calls for a series of seven projects totalling 1.3 GW. The first of these solar power plants, sized at 100 MW and located in Ivanpah, California, USA, could be operating in early 2013 and is expected to produce 286 GWh of electricity per year. The full 1.3 GW of projects will produce 3700 GWh of energy annually.
BrightSource Energy’s Luz Power Tower 550 (LPT 550) energy system uses thousands of heliostats to reflect sunlight onto a boiler atop a tower to produce high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional turbine which generates electricity. In order to conserve water, the LPT 550 system uses air-cooling to convert the steam back into water. The water is then returned to the boiler in a closed cycle.