Mar 25

Now This Is Big!

Wow, this is big. Beyond big actually, and probably the largest mirror job that will ever be done, anywhere. How big? How about 24,920,000 square feet? That roughly works out to about 2,075 semi loads of mirror. I know it’s hard to comprehend but you can check my math if you like. They used 356,000 pieces of mirror at 7’ x 10’ each and the installation covers just about 5 square miles. The mirrors in question are used at the Ivanpah Valley, Calif.,  solar power plant and while I am not the first to write about this gigantic project, I feel compelled to comment and especially so now that the facility has finally started operating. Now because solar voltaic panels have dropped in price and wind power has gained so much in popularity and cost efficiencies, it has been stated that a similar facility will most likely never be built. Not to mention the fact that the federal government actually provided funding (a loan) for $1.6 billion to the developer and the final price tag came in at about $2.2 billion. The mirrors are used to direct sunlight to heating plants containing giant-sized boilers. Water in the boilers is heated to 1,000 degrees and then the heated water is used to turn electricity generating turbines.

In doing some reading about this project it quickly became apparent to me that without government loans and tax incentives, the viability of this facility is questionable to say the least. BUT, you glass guys gotta love the size of the mirror order! Who says the government’s not looking out for the glass industry? And by the way, does anyone know who produced those mirrors???

Maybe I Am Wrong – Follow-Up

In last week’s blog I mentioned that maybe Chipotle Mexican Grill food, which I like quite a bit, was not really Mexican food at all inasmuch as I recently read that there are no Chipotle facilities in Mexico. Well, thanks to a couple of alert and kind readers, I have now been informed that there are “different” types of Mexican food such as REAL Mexican food, Tex-Mex varieties and just plain old Mexican-American food, which apparently is the category that Chipotle falls into. However, no one answered my question as to whether or not there are any Taco Bells in Mexico. I’m betting there are.

This Is Interesting

At least to me anyway. Don Keller sent me the following picture taken at the Grand Ledge, Mich., public library last week. The book that is the seventh from the left is “The Broken Tomato” which for me is certainly nice but the book to the immediate right of my book carries the title “Game Changer.” My grandson Jake plays drums for a band by the name of Game Changer and they were just featured on the cover of the Suburban Life Newspaper which runs in Chicago’s western suburbs. The cover photo came with a very nice interview (and additional pictures) in which my grandson was quoted. So for me, I just thought this was kind of interesting and also kinda cute. AND, I will now wait at least six months before I say anything bad about the state of Michigan, and I will forevermore praise the fine community of Grand Ledge which I understand just might be one of the most wonderful and progressive towns in all of America. And obviously, a well-read bunch of people as well.

From one of America’s BEST libraries!

From one of America’s BEST libraries!

The Sports Thing

Well that certainly didn’t take too long now, did it? I refer here to the fact that after only two rounds of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, every one of the over 9 million entries into the bracket contest to win one billion dollars from Warren Buffett’s Quicken Loans had been eliminated. That Buffett … he just doesn’t lose, does he? Then again, with the odds of being able to pick the winner of every game throughout the tournament estimated to be 9 quintillion to 1, the odds were in Buffett’s favor all along. Ever notice how the guys with all the money always seem to have the odds in their favor? Just saying.

Hey, opening day is next week for MLB and here in Chicago, temperatures are still below freezing and it snowed yesterday. My grandson Tucker, who plays varsity baseball for Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, Ill.,has already had about a dozen games cancelled because of weather or poor field conditions. They have not been able to play one game yet this season. Of course, they don’t have the field or ground crews that the pros have so I’m sure opening day(s) in Chicago will go as scheduled … maybe!

The Quotable Thing

Art Johnson scanned this over to me a couple of days ago and I want to use it before winter ends and yes, I know some of you think it might never end. Art took it from the January 2014 Reader’s Digest.

A surveyor drops by Will’s farm in eastern Minnesota and announces that he has some bad news. “I’ve discovered that your farm isn’t in Minnesota,” he says. “It’s in Wisconsin.” Will lets out a sigh of relief. “That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time,” he says. “I was just telling my wife this morning that I don’t think I can take another winter in Minnesota.”

Have a Wonderful Week, Everyone!


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  1. Rick


    A quick look on google shows a company named Bright Source responsible for the manufacturing of the Heliostat Mirror assemblies.. A Spanish company ( RIOGGLASS ) with three facilities ( two in Spain and one in Arizona ) as a likely candidate for the manufacturer of the mirrors . Per the Ivan Valley web site, the production schedule ( these folks were moving along at a good clip ) suggests that the two facilities (Bright Source and Riogglass ) did an outstanding job coordinating their efforts. I did not confirm this with company officials, so I could be mistaken in my analysis. Bright Source was listed in articles, RIOGGLASS is a guess on my part.

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      Rick … thank you so very much. You are quick and quite good as well! Lyle

  2. JR

    Lye, I think Guardian may have supplied the mirrors for the solar project in California. Pretty sure I remember readng something from them about it a couple of years back but I could be wrong. I certainly hope that the mirrors came from an American source if the government was helping finance the thing with cash and incentives. JR

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      JR … appreciate your comments and another reader actually sent me a copy of a Guardian press release from a couple of years back that also would indicate that the mirrors came from Guardian which I assume would make you feel a little better. Lyle

  3. Ken Harvey

    Lyle, Taco Bell has tried to enter the Mexican market twice, 1972 and 2007, and failed both times. Apparently the fare that is being served confused the Mexican people. Ken

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      Thanks Ken and to be totally candid here, Taco Bell confuses me sometimes too! Lyle

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