Adam Goldstein and I flew out to Las Vegas. We left Whiteman airport (WHP) at about 0800 and arrived at Boulder City Airport (BVU) about 90 minutes later. That sure as hell beats the 3+ hour drive that is more typical of a trip to Vegas. Along the way, our route took us over the BrightSource Ivanpah solar power tower construction site an we snapped some photos. Then we flew over Nevada Solar One, and a PV plant located adjacent to it and snapped some more photos.
Solar thermal power plants are a bit un-conventional in terms of generating solar power. When most of us think solar power, we think solar panels. Solar thermal power plants however use mirrors that reflect sunlight onto a boiler where steam is made. This steam is then passed through a conventional turbine -just as the steam made by burning fossil fuels other power plants. The only difference between the two is the source of the heat. Fossil fuel power plants burn fossil fuels, nuclear power plants use heat from fission, and solar thermal power plants use sunlight.
I'm currently an employee of eSolar, technically a competitor of BrightSource's, but let's face it, a BrightSource success is a solar thermal success and good for eSolar too. Let's hope they can keep this baby on budget.
I wish we'd taken more photos, but truth be told, no photo could do it justice.