World's largest solar energy plant experiences minor meltdown
A small hearth briefly shut down the generator on the Ivanpah Photo voltaic Electrical Producing System close to the California-Nevada border Thursday. In response to the Related Press, some wires on the energy plant melted and caught hearth after a misaligned mirror zapped them with concentrated sunbeams.
When it’s working appropriately, the array of over 173,500 heliostats mirror and focus daylight onto boiler towers that create supercritical steam to drive generators and create electrical energy — sufficient to energy some one hundred forty,000 houses in California. It is an environment friendly system that additionally has the unlucky aspect impact of incinerating birds in mid-flight, however now we will additionally add “photo voltaic meltdown” to the listing of potential energy plant disasters.
Based on San Bernardino County hearth Captain Mike McClintock, these misaligned mirrors have been reflecting the solar’s rays onto electrical wires about 300 ft up one of many boiler towers. Whereas photographs from the blaze present some injury to steam ducts and water pipes, nobody was injured and staff on the plant reportedly had issues underneath management in lower than 20 minutes. One of many boilers was shut down for repairs, however the plant itself remained on-line.