In a test announced by NRG Energy Tuesday, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System successfully delivered power to the grid for the first time. NRG says the "proof-of-concept" test confirms that the 377-megawatt solar power plant's Unit 1 is ready to start operation sometime this year.
"Given the magnitude and complexity of Ivanpah, it was very important that we successfully complete this milestone showing all systems were on track," said Tom Doyle, President of NRG Solar, in a press release.
NRG co-owns the Ivanpah project along with Google and the project's developer BrightSource Energy. The project is being built by Bechtel on more than 3,500 acres of public lands in the Mojave Desert, just downhill from the Mojave National Preserve.
The power generated during the "sync" test was delivered to the Northern California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which has agreed to buy all the power from the project's Units 1 and 3. Southern California Edison will buy power from Unit 2.
Units 2 and 3 are scheduled for similar sync tests later this year.
"This is yet another major milestone that we have successfully achieved as Ivanpah approaches completion," said BrightSource Executive Chairman David Ramm. "Ivanpah is the showcase project for BrightSource's power tower technology and technical expertise. Validation at this scale demonstrates the viability of our technology as BrightSource increases focus on international markets and applications for concentrating solar power."