The Ivanpah Solar Farm At the Ivanpah solar farm, 347,000 software-controlled mirrors that track the sun’s movement throughout the day. They direct light toward one of three towers, where a water boiler creates steam that powers a generator. Ethan Miller/ Getty Images
In February, the Ivanpah Solar Electricity Generating System opened over a 3,500-acre stretch of the Mojave Desert. The solar thermal farm operates at 392 megawatts—just under 1 percent of California’s total energy production, or enough to power 140,000 homes.