Silicon Valley's favorite search engine giant just dropped a whopping $168 million in a new solar energy plant in California's Mojave Desert designed and developed by BrightSource Energy. Google is counting on BrightSource's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) to generate 392 MegaWatts (gross) of minty-fresh clean solar energy. In a blog post today, Google wrote:
That's the equivalent of taking more than 90,000 cars off the road over the lifetime of the plant, projected to be more than 25 years.
Which would be no small contribution to our nation's energy qualms, something Google is clearly dedicated to aiding as the tech firm has now invested more than $250 million in the future of clean, renewable energy. Google is investing in the proven technology of "Power Towers", which use fields of mirrors (heliostats) to focus solar rays onto a receiver placed on top of a large tower (seen above in the photo). According to the post, the first use of the technology was the fabled existence of Archimedes' heat ray that used a similar system to focus solar energy to burn the sails of enemy ships. Thankfully, BrightSource's Mojave Desert station is far enough from the ocean and any other life, for that matter, for us to worry about superweapons. Still, the Ivanpah station will utilize over 170k different heliostats, each with two mirrors. Construction began last October and will continue until sometime in 2013. Energy corporation NRG and the US Department of Energy are also funding the project.