Biggest Solar Plant Approved in California

The approval of a solar thermal plant by the California Energy Commission is the latest in a string of similar proposals that, if developed, could deliver more than 1,500 megawatts of electricity - enough to power 1.5 million homes.

Energy commissioners just licensed the Blythe Solar Power Project a concentrated solar thermal electric-generating facility with four adjacent and identical solar plants of 250 megawatt each that could produce up to 1,000 megawatts.

Todd Woody, in this New York Times blog, calls it the world's largest solar thermal plant.

The project, which still awaits major financing, would use arrays of parabolic mirrors, similar to those in the photo, collect heat energy from the sun to create steam and then energy. The site is about two miles north of U.S. Interstate-10 and eight miles west of the City of Blythe in an unincorporated area of Riverside County.

The total area that will be disturbed by project construction and operation will be about 7,030 acres. The area inside the project's security fence, within which all project facilities will be located, will occupy approximately 5,950 acres.

That's big. And Woody noted that an additional 2,829 megawatts of solar power is on the drawing boards and facing at Dec. 31 approval deadline. We've written about some of that here.