Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Facility
On a day of calm weather, I drove South just across the border into California to the Ivanpah Solar Power facility. I wanted to fly the Inspire above it in good sunlight. This is a vast complex that went online officially in 2014. It has 173,000 paired heliostats, paired mirrors spread across a vast tract of desert. Seen from above, it is massive, impressive, even artistic. I didn't fly the drone too close to the towers, since these solar furnaces have a reputation of frying thousands of birds.
This is the official web site http://www.ivanpahsolar.com It is important to keep in mind that the cost overruns for this plant have been horrendous, and the amount of power generated has fallen far short of the promises made. http://breakingenergy.com/2014/10/29/at-ivanpah-solar-power-plant-energy-production-falling-well-short-of-expectations.
Still, from my standpoint it was a marvelous subject. Up close it is enormous, and only the drone view can give us a real idea of those thousands of mirrors. Besides, soaring up to get a better overview is a great thrill for a drone enthusiast.
On a second visit the following day, I found two sites near the heliostats (mirrors) without too many power lines overhead, so that I could be sure the drone’s wireless controls would work properly. That allowed me to fly out at lower altitude to distinguish individual members of the 360,000 sets of solar cells!