Rising proudly from the dry bed of Ivanpah Lake, these solar power towers are surrounded by glinting seas of perfectly arranged panels. They are part of the Ivanpah Solar Energy Facility in the Mojave desert in southern California, one of the world’s largest solar thermal energy plants.

The facility uses more than 170,000 devices called heliostats, each consisting of two mirrors that direct solar energy onto boilers found on the three centralised solar power towers. The boilers then use the sun’s heat to produce steam that drives turbines to generate electricity.

Photographer Henry Do from Las Vegas, Nevada, who took this shot, thinks that the concept behind the plant is ingenious. “I love how massive the system is and the pattern of the mirrors seen from above and how they track the sun.”

Spread out over 14 square kilometres, the facility can generate enough energy to power 140,000 homes every year. Due to the scale of plants like Ivanpah, solar energy is becoming cheaper and could play a role in helping renewables overtake fossil fuels as the world’s preferred sources of electricity.

Source: NewScientist

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