World’s Largest Solar Plant Sets Itself on Fire

Improperly aligned mirrors redirected the sun’s rays at the wrong spot.

solar-power-station-california image www.energy-option.info

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a concentrated solar thermal in California and the world’s largest solar thermal power station, suffered a small fire on one of its three boiler towers Thursday, according to the Associated Press. The fire caused the boiler tower to be shut down while firefighters ascended 300 feet to deal with the blaze, leaving the plant at one third power since another tower is already down for maintenance. 

fire-damage-solar-plant image www.energy-options.info

The Ivanpah plant works by using its massive fields of mirrors to direct sunlight towards the top of the three 459-foot boiler towers, which then creates the steam to drive turbines that create the actual electricity. But several misaligned mirrors directed some of this sunlight to the wrong place, starting a fire amidst some electrical cables, San Bernardino County, California fire Capt. Mike McClintock told the AP. Plant personnel had the fire out by the time firefighters on site.

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Henry Sapiecha

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