The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System consists of 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each mirror stands 7ft high and 10ft wide. The Sun's light is focused to the top of the 459ft tower using computers turning water into steam to power large turbines.
Here is a quote from the official NRG Energy Press Release
"Ivanpah, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of all solar thermal energy currently operational in the US, is the largest solar project of its kind in the world. The project is the first to use BrightSource’s innovative solar power tower technology to produce electricity, which includes 173,500 heliostats that follow the sun’s trajectory, solar field integration software and a solar receiver steam generator. Since breaking ground in October 2010, the project has created thousands of jobs and, at the peak of construction, employed nearly 3,000 site workers who completed more than 8.35 million man-hours. A total of approximately $650 million in salaries for construction and operations is expected to be paid over the next 30 years."
Is this the way forward in electricity production? It isn't nearly as productive as Neuclear Energy but is no doubt a lot safer and cleaner. The Ivanpah installation will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tons annually. It is also designed to minimize impacts on the natural environment through land-use efficiency, and a low impact heliostat layout which allows the solar field to follow the natural land contours and avoid key vegetation areas.