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Pilots complain of brightness from huge solar farm

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 15, 2014 at 9:55 pm •  Published: March 15, 2014
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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Pilots flying over the world's largest solar power plant in the Mojave Desert have complained of nearly blinding glare from the sun's reflection off its vast array of mirrors.

Two anonymous complaints were filed with the federal government in August, months before the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System formally opened across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1gomgrN ).

A pilot wrote that it was impossible to look in the direction of the plant because of the intense brightness from the hundreds of thousands of mirrors. An air traffic controller reported receiving daily complaints about the brightness from pilots flying over the solar farm during the late morning and early afternoon.

Dozens of daily flights between Southern California and Las Vegas cross the area above or near the solar farm.

"I have no idea what can be done about this situation, but being a passenger on an aircraft that flew through this airspace and saw it for myself, I would say that something needs to be done. It is extremely bright and distracting," the controller wrote.

NRG Energy Inc., a co-owner and operator of the plant, was investigating the issue and will respond within 10 days, company spokesman Jeff Holland said Friday.

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