Ivanpah goes online: World’s largest solar thermal plant connects to grid through DC Systems RIG

The world’s largest solar thermal plant went online today and is connected to the grid by a DC Systems RT|Remote Intelligent Gateway (RT|RIG). Located in the Mojave Desert, the 392 MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System reflects sunlight to heat water in boilers atop 459-foot towers, creating steam to drive turbines and generate electricity. Located near the border of California and Nevada, Ivanpah feeds power to Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison and is owned by NRG Energy, BrightSource Energy, and Google.Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

A crucial piece of the system, DC Systems’ RIG acquires and transmits secure, real-time data and commands between the plant and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), providing real-time production data for use in grid management and enabling Ivanpah to participate in the California market. Ivanpah is the most recent of DC Systems’ RIG projects to go online; other notable projects and customers include large renewable and conventional sites such as Tehachapi Wind Farm, Southern California Edison’s Aggregator RIG (ARIG) project, a 600 MW gas turbine in northern California, and scores of smaller solar, wind, cogen, combined cycle, hydro, biomass, fuel cell and geothermal sites.

If you’re planning to build your own 400 MW (or smaller, or larger!) power plant, here are some things to keep in mind and ways DC Systems helps:

  • RIG maintenance is a headache and downtime is expensive – DC Systems is able to access customer RIGS remotely, leading to simplified maintenance process and lower cost, minimizing time out of the market.
  • The CAISO approval process for interconnection is complex and deliverables have long lead times; DC Systems has deep experience guiding customers through this process and helping ensure projects finish on schedule. Also, start early!
  • An application of DC Systems’ Real-time Smart Grid Platform, RT|RIG is also a powerful Data Acquisition Server (DAS) and communications gateway for local displays, enterprise systems and third party applications. Combining the RIG and DAS functions in one reduces technology costs and simplifies deployment and configuration.

Learn more about RT | RIG.