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News Picks : California solar plant causes problems for pilots

By: Physics Today
20 March 2014
Ars Technica: In August 2013 pilots flying across the California desert complained of being temporarily blinded by the intense glare emanating from a solar plant. Located about 50 km southwest of Las Vegas, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System comprises more than 300 000 mirrors that reflect the Sun’s light onto a trio of boiling towers. In addition to pilots being blinded, birds have been reported to have been scorched by the powerful heat. Although complaints were lodged six months ago, they are only now being addressed. The problem may be temporary, however, according to Jeff Holland, a spokesman for NRG Energy, which operates Ivanpah. He says the incidents occurred before the system went online, while workers were still testing and adjusting equipment.


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