More than 11,000 assemblies were completed in January – that is enough mirrors to cover nearly 40 NFL football fields.

In the Common Area, the team continues to push ahead with heliostat assemblies in the Heliostat Assembly Building and Pad Bonding Buildings, regularly completing more than 500 heliostats each day.

More than 11,000 assemblies were completed in January – that is enough mirrors to cover nearly 40 NFL football fields. Southern California Edison continues to make progress on the substation and transmission project.

The Ivanpah team reached a major milestone in the start up of the solar plant in late February. On February 25th, more than one thousand heliostats focused onto the Ivanpah Unit 1 solar receiver, creating the “first flux.”

Solar flux is when a significant amount of sunlight is reflected off of the solar field mirrors. The flux slowly heated the water inside the boiler to just below the point of steam generation. Before today’s first flux, the maximum amount of heliostats aimed at the boiler was 5-10 at a time for heliostat calibration. Learn more about the significance of first flux here.

Cooler winter temperatures in December and January could not stop the more than 2,000 construction workers currently working at Ivanpah from advancing the project to more than 84% complete. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Lockard.)

Unit 1 is more than 90% complete. The boiler’s evaporator section has been chemically cleaned in preparation for operation. Next, the system will undergo steam blows to clear out any debris inside the pipes so that it does not damage the steam turbine once operational. Testing of the tuned mass damper – a device that is mounted in tall structures to reduce any tower movement caused by wind or seismic activity – is complete and construction has commenced on the permanent elevator for the Unit 1 tower.

On the ground, the air-cooled condenser (ACC) is nearly ready for operation after successful completion of an air test to confirm the integrity of piping and check for leaks. As construction in the power block area is completed in the next couple of weeks, the laydown area for power block materials will be cleared and the remaining pylons and heliostats will be installed. The solar field team continues commissioning the heliostats in advance of system start up. Prior to commissioning, project electricians wire heliostats together and connect them to the communication and power distribution units (CPDUs). BrightSource technicians then calibrate each individual heliostat with the BrightSource SFINCS (Solar Field Integrated Control System) software to ensure accurate aiming at the boiler. The team achieved “first flux,” in late February, marking the first time a significant amount of concentrated sunlight has been focused on the boiler for continued system testing.

Unit 2 is more than 80% complete. In the power block area, the team successfully completed a hydrostatic test of the boiler to confirm the integrity of the boiler by pressurizing it with water to check for leaks. In February, the boiler’s evaporator section will be chemically cleaned in preparation for operation, followed by steam blows in the coming months. On the ground, the ACC is nearly ready for an air test and the solar field team has begun commissioning the installed heliostats. In the solar field, more than 56,000 pylons and 43,000 heliostats have been installed.
























Unit 3 is more than 70% complete. In the power block area, the team also completed a hydrostatic test of the boiler in late January and is preparing the boiler’s evaporator section for a chemical cleaning. On the ground, construction is steadily progressing on the ACC, the plant services building and the auxiliary boiler. In the solar field, more than 47,000 pylons and 26,000 heliostats have been installed. In the coming months, the team will begin commissioning the Unit 3 heliostats and calibrating them with the SFINCS software.


Bechtel Corporation, the engineering, procurement and construction partner tasked with building the Ivanpah plant, has a long-standing tradition of giving back to the communities where they work and supporting important causes. The charitable work that takes place at Ivanpah exemplifies this commitment. Over the past two years, the Bechtel team has worked together to purchase and assemble 170 bikes for Toys for Tots, collect relief funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy, donate to breast cancer research, establish recycling programs and much more.