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The bright lights seen above are hundreds of thousands of computer controlled mirrors focusing Mojave Desert sunlight onto boilers on top of three 459-foot towers. The focused solar energy heats up water to produce steam that powers turbines providing power to California homes.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles near the Nevada-California border, formally opened last week after years of regulatory and legal tangles.
The $2.2 billion complex of three generating units, owned by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy, can produce nearly 400 megawatts, enough power for 140,000 homes.