Mojave Solar Project

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Mojave Solar Project
Parabolic trough at Harper Lake in California.jpg
CountryUnited States
LocationMojave Desert, California
Coordinates35°0′40″N 117°19′30″W / 35.01111°N 117.32500°W / 35.01111; -117.32500Coordinates: 35°0′40″N 117°19′30″W / 35.01111°N 117.32500°W / 35.01111; -117.32500
Construction beganSeptember 2011
Commission dateDecember 1, 2014
Solar farm
CSP technologyParabolic trough
Collectors2256 (SCAs)
Total collector area1,559,347 square metres (385.323 acres)
Site resource2,685 kW·h/m2/yr
Site area1,765 acres (714 ha)
Power generation
Units operational2 x 140 MWe (gross)
Nameplate capacity250 MW
Capacity factor27.7% (2015–2018)
Annual net output582 GW·h
External links
Websitemojave solar project
CommonsRelated media on Commons

The Mojave Solar Project (MSP) is a concentrated solar power (CSP) facility in the Mojave Desert in California, about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Barstow. Surrounding the hamlet of Lockhart, Mojave Solar is adjacent to Harper Lake and the SEGS VIII–IX solar plant. The site was originally reserved for the planned, never built, SEGS IX and XII. For 15 years following its construction in 1990, this was the largest commercial solar power plant in the world, generating around 160 megawatts at its peak. It is one of three separately owned sites within 40 miles (64 km) of one another, that make up the nine solar fields in the Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS #1 and 2 are at Daggett, and #3 through 7 are at Kramer Junction). Harper Lake was the last of these built, and is designated as SEGS #8 and 9. It is still online, but has been surpassed by other newer facilities, including the Mojave Solar Project.[1] MSP, with a combined nameplate capacity of 250 MW (gross 280 MW), is made of two, independently operable, solar fields. The power plant cost an estimated $1.6 billion in total and entered commercial operation in December 2014.[2] The developer, Abengoa, has successfully secured a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the US government for the project.[3][4][5] The plant is expected to generate 617,000 MWh of power annually, enough power for more than 88,000 households and to prevent the emission of over 430 kilotons of CO2 a year.[6] Pacific Gas & Electric has agreed to a 25-year power purchase agreement.[7]

The plant was commissioned on 1 December 2014.[8]


The array of parabolic troughs at the Mojave Solar Project site in their stow position.

Using the desert's solar thermal energy, the facility generates steam in solar steam generators, which expands through a steam turbine generator to produce electrical power from twin, independently operable solar fields, each feeding a 125 MW power island. Generation is provided 100% from sun, no supplement from fossil-based energy sources. There is a gas-fired auxiliary boiler, for each field, only to provide equipment and heat-transfer fluid (HTF) freeze protection, when temperatures fall below 54 °F (12 °C).

The details of the parabolic trough used in the project.

The power cycle is a Rankine-with-reheat thermodynamic cycle from heat supplied via heat-transfer fluid, solar field heated up to 740 °F (393 °C). When operating, the transfer fluid enters the solar field at about 520 °F (271 °C). The steam generator steam exit temperature is about 720 °F (382 °C).

Each field utilizes 1128 solar collector arrays (SCA) sited on about 710 acres (290 ha). Each SCA, model E2 from Abengoa (derived from Luz's LS-3), is 125 metres (410 ft) long and is made of 10 solar collector elements (SCE), 12 metres (39 ft) long each and 5.76 metres (18.9 ft) aperture. The E2 steel frame collector with monolithic glass reflector panels, yields a total aperture area of 691.2 square metres (7,440 sq ft). That makes a total of 779,674 square metres (8,392,340 sq ft) aperture each solar field, 1,559,347 square metres (16,784,670 sq ft) total for the plant, operating about 3,024 hours per year.

Cooling is provided by wet cooling towers; water for the towers and solar collector washing, is supplied from onsite groundwater wells. Water from condensed steam exits the cooling tower pump at about 80 °F (27 °C), before cycling back to the steam generator.


Mojave Solar Project production is as follows (values in MW·h).[9]

Generation (MW·h) of Mojave Solar Project [9]
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2015 4,816 28,254 49,104 57,830 49,132 43,618 64,353 63,367 57,559 37,406 32,818 15,319 503,576
2016 4,635 42,348 41,890 54,991 75,569 80,338 87,565 79,153 68,245 45,346 30,315 14,512 624,907
2017 6,055 22,196 54,504 61,408 76,179 78,362 74,443 58,478 63,663 55,255 21,818 21,669 594,030
2018 21,688 37,489 48,733 42,966 78,035 84,956 70,267 71,788 74,929 51,473 13,976 8,880 605,180
Total 2,327,693

Maximum production was planned at 617,000 MW·h per year.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Center for Land Use Interpretation". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  2. ^ Abengoa's Mojave 250 MW CSP plant enters commercial operation, 2 December 2014
  3. ^ "US government backs Abengoa's solar project with $1.2 billion loan guarantee". Energy Efficiency News. 19 September 2011. Archived from the original on 29 November 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Abengoa Solar, Inc. (Mojave Solar)". Loan Guarantee Program. DOE. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  5. ^ Abengoa Solar Abengoa Solar - The Mojave Solar Project Archived 2013-06-19 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Loans - Award Summary: Mojave Solar LLC". U.S. Government. Archived from the original on 25 February 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Advice Letters 3876-E and 3876-E-A" (PDF). California Public Utilities Commission. January 11, 2012. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  8. ^ "Abengoa puts 250 MW CSP array online in California". Industry Dive. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Mojave Solar Project, Monthly". Electricity Data Browser. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  10. ^ "Mojave". Loan Programs Office. U.S. Department of Energy. 2011. Archived from the original on 27 June 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2019. Mojave is expected to generate 617,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy and prevent 329,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually

External links[edit]