Fire at Solar Power Plant

Solar power in the Mojave

Not much power, but 90% of the world's solar electricity

What?  A fire?

The Solar Energy Generating System (SEGS) in the Mojave Desert consists of nine separate installations, each of which has a large arrary of parabolic troughs that focus sunlight onto a black tube carrying a heat-transfer oil called therminol.  The hot oil is then used to run heat engines that turn electric generator shafts.

Altogether, the nine SEGS units produce an around-the-clock average of 103 MWe (megawatts of electricity), about 1 tenth of the power output of a single nuke.  This power is fully 90% of the world's solar electricity.

On February 27th, 1999, a fire broke out in a tank containint 900,000 gallons of therminol used in SEGS-II, a unit the produces 8% of the SEGS electricity.

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