It has the gross capacity of 392 megawatts. In the fields are 173,500 heliostat panels each with 2 mirrors focus sunlight on receivers located on centralized solar power boiler towers. (two of which are reflecting their white light in the photo and the other is to the right and looks black.) (the blue on the left side are the panels as are the black area on the right that looks like a long line at the base of the mountain). The receivers generate steam to drive specially adapted steam turbines. It is located on 4,000 acres. It had to scale back to protect the habitat of the desert tortoise. This facility was built after the success of Solar One and then Solar Two near Dagget, CA back in the 1980’s. In 2014, it was the world’s largest solar thermal power station. But the growth in solar has been growing steadily. In 2015 California’ 550 megawatt Topaz Solar Farm was the world’s largest, then in 2016, the 579 megawatt Solar Star farm also in California took top billing, and later in 2016, in India, the Kamuthi Solar Power was tops with 648 megawatt. This list continues on with China now holding the top position with a 1547 megawatt facility, also built in 2016.
Now to put that into perspective – At its peak, during summer months, NYC on average uses 11,000 megawatts of electricity each day. One megawatt represents the amount need to power 1,000 homes. Big Bend Power Station is a coal fired facility that produces more than 1,700 megawatts. And Big Bend Solar which is adjacent to the Big Bend Power Plant in Apollo Beach uses more than 200,000 solar panels on 106 acres to produce 23 megawatts and powers 3,300 homes. It uses more panels on less land and produces 5% of what Ivanpah Solar does.