Essay about Solar Flux Of Birds That Pass Over These Solar Farms

2545 Words Nov 30th, 2014 11 Pages
One of the main concerns surrounding solar energy is the endangerment of birds that pass over these solar farms. These birds, including threatened and endangered species, often mistake the reflective solar facilities for a body of water, a phenomenon known as the “lake effect.” Honing in on these water bodies, many birds have been fatally singed or crippled due to these desert solar power plants (Upton, 2014). These plants produce a solar flux that is the sum of the focused rays of light delivered by the mirror array. If the birds are not directly killed due to exposure to solar flux, many lose their ability to fly and eventually starve or become prey. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is currently the biggest facility of its kind and can produce a solar flux that is 5000 times as hot as unfocused sunlight (Peck, 2014). It operates through use of power towers wherein more than 300,000 mirrors reflect solar rays onto three boiler towers. The water is heated to produce steam that turns turbines to generate electricity. The Ivanpah plant acts as a “mega-trap” for wildlife, with its bright lights attracting insects which in turn attract insect-eating birds that fly to their death (Knickmeyer & Locher, 2014). Researchers discovered 141 bird carcasses at the Ivanpah solar plant in the Mohave Desert, however this number does not include birds that live long enough to leave the monitored area, but die soon after due to losing its ability to fly (Peck, 2014). Solar flux is…

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