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Glossary

Copyright 2008-10,
CaliforniaPHOTON.com
V 1.06
site last updated: 6/26/2010

C a l i f o r n i a   P H O T O N

Renewable Energy Plants

Most of the solar electricity produced in California comes from distributed generation such as by residential and commercial rooftop installations of photovoltaic panels. At the opposite end of the size spectrum are giant factory-like installations, whose existing and planned facilities choose from three types of concentrating thermal power technologies.

Existing Solar Plants

By far the largest solar plants operating in Califorina are the Solar Electricity Generating Systems (SEGS) facilities built in the 1980s.

plant name location completion date footprint area peak turbine power annual energy production
year square kilometers megawatts gigawatt-hours
SEGS I,II Daggett 1985 0.248 44 49
SEGS III-VII Kramer Junction 1986-88 0.248 150 343
SEGS VIII,IX Harper Lake 1989-90 0.948 160 263

Planned Solar Plants

A handful of large companies have secured long-term contracts with the states major utilities for purchase of electricity from plants that are planned. Based on published reports of the land area that these plants will occupy, and the peak power output they are expected to generate, we have computed the plants' peak efficiency: the ratio of peak power output to land area.

facility location footprint area peak output power peak efficiency
square miles square kilometers megawatts watts per square meter efficiency
Solar 1 Mojave desert
ease of Barstow
7 18.21 500 - 850 128.6 12.86
Solar 2 Imperial Valley
near El Centro
3 7.77 300 - 900 46.7 4.67
Ivanpah 1 Mojave desert
near Nevada and west of Ivanpah Dry Lake
1.3 3.367 100 29.70 2.97%
Ivanpah 2 San Bernardino County 4.5 miles southwest of Primm, Nevada 1.3 3.367 100 29.70 2.97%
Ivanpah 3 Township 17N, Range 14E, and Township 16N, Range 14E 2.5 6.475 200 30.88 3.08%
Mojave Solar Park 1 Mojave desert
near Nevada and west of Ivanpah Dry Lake
9 24 553 23.04 2.30%
High Plains Ranch II Carrizo Plain
northwest of California Valley
3.5 9.065 250 27.58 2.76%
Topaz Solar Farm San Luis Obispo County 9.5 24.605 550 22.35 2.24%