Can people drive cars near solar thermal plants, or would the reflection of the sun against the large mirrors be blinding?



  1. 0 Votes

    This is an interesting question, and a logical one, but I couldn’t find any mention of specific effects of solar thermal plants causing problems for everyday passer-by drivers. Solar thermal plants use mirrors to focus solar energy, and clearly you wouldn’t want to get too close to them–being 50 feet away from such panels has been described as “blinding even through sunglasses,” and considerable heat can be felt even through clothing. However, considering that these plants are usually located on privately-owned property far off in the wilderness, the only people who would get close enough to see and feel these effects would be plant employees. I would imagine that just driving along the road near a solar thermal plant wouldn’t be a problem. Surely you’d see a bright flash off in the distance, but, just as you wouldn’t want to stare at the sun directly on a sunny day (even through sunglasses), you would be fine just by looking away. Presumably the land use and permitting process for siting a solar thermal plant would take into effect potential side effects such as this, and the builders of a plant would want to keep their facilities far off the road anyway to prevent unauthorized access.

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