Solar Energy Generating Systems

Solar Plants in California produce energy - reduce pollutions

Solar Energy Generating Systems or SEGS, is a name for nine solar power plants in the Mojave Desert in California. These were placed here, because it has some of the most insolation in the United States. This area averages 340 sunny days a year, to be exact. This makes it an ideal place to generate solar energy. The average direct normal radiation, or DNR, is 7.65%. This is one of the best percentages in the nation.

This system uses parabolic trough solar thermal along with natural gas to generate electricity. The lion's share of the energy is produced by solar panels, roughly 90%. The only time that natural gas is used is when the sun is down, or insufficient to make up the demand from the grid. FPL Energy, who owns the system, claims that their company displaces 3800 tons of pollution per year.

The plants have a 354 MW capacity, making it the largest group of solar plants in the world.

This system has a total of 936,384 mirrors and covers more than 1,600 acres. If these parabolic mirrors were lined up, they would cover 229 miles!

The parabolic mirrors are half pipe shaped. The sun shines on these mirrors, which are 94% reflective, unlike normal mirrors that are 70% reflective. The sun is then bounced off the mirrors and aimed at a collection tube filled with synthetic oil. The intensity of this light is equal to 71-90 suns. This oil is then heated up to over 400 degrees F. The heated oil is used to heat water into steam that turns turbines to generate electricity.



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