Located near Harper dry lake on a former alfalfa ranch in the Mojave Desert
of San Bernardino County, 135 miles northeast of Los Angeles is one of the
world’s largest solar power plants generating 80-megawatts of energy
or enough to power 50 - 80,000 homes.
The site utilizes 400 acres of solar collectors, which are essentially rows of mirrors that concentrate the sun’s energy onto a system of pipes circulating a heat transfer fluid. The heat transfer fluid is used to produce steam which powers a conventional turbine to generate electricity for sale to Southern California Edison (SCE).
The Harper site has the highest rating of anywhere in the world on the solar radiation index, which measures the amount of sunshine around the globe. Other factors that make this an ideal area for solar collection include It's extremely flatness, there's access to the (power) grid, it's close to a labor force, and its in an environment where development seems to be encouraged. There are currently nine solar power plants in the area — five 30-megawatt plants at Kramer Junction, one 14-megawatt plant and one 30-megawatt plant in Daggett and two 80-megawatt plants at Harper Dry Lake.