California opens one of the world's largest solar projects

Less than a hundred miles from the rim of the Hoover Dam, just outside of Las Vegas at the edge of dusty San Bernardino County, sits a symbol of how the sun will some day provide copious amounts of electricity for entire cities. This is Ivanpah, the world’s largest operating solar farm, which uses 347,000 mirrors and three huge 450-foot towers to harness the sun’s heat to generate electricity.

One of the world’s largest solar projects, which uses heat from the sun to generate power in California, opened on Thursday but may be the last of its kind in The Golden State. Sprawling across 3,500 acres in the Mojave desert near the California-Nevada border, the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar thermal power plant has more than 300,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight onto boilers housed in the top of three towers, each of which is 150 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. The sun heats water inside the towers, creating steam that moves turbines and produces enough emissions-free electricity to power 140,000 homes, or about 392-megawatts.

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