This paper reviews past and current avian mortality studies at concentrating solar power (CSP) plants and facilities including Solar One in California, the Solar Energy Development Center in Israel, Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California, Crescent Dunes in Nevada, and Gemasolar in Spain. Findings indicate that the leading causes of bird deaths at CSP plants are from collisions (primarily with reflective surfaces; i.e., heliostats) and singeing caused by concentrated solar flux. Safe irradiance levels for birds have been reported to range between 4 and 50 kW/m2. Above these levels, singeing and irreversible damage to the feathers can occur. Despite observations of large numbers of “streamers” in concentrated flux regions and reports that suggest these streamers indicate complete vaporization of birds, analyses in this paper show that complete vaporization of birds is highly improbable, and the observed streamers are likely due to insects flying into the concentrated flux. The levelized avian mortality rate during the first year of operation at Ivanpah was estimated to be 0.7 – 3.5 fatalities per GWh, which is less than the levelized avian mortality reported for fossil fuel plants but greater than that for nuclear and wind power plants. Mitigation measures include acoustic, visual, tactile, and chemosensory deterrents to keep birds away from the plant, and heliostat aiming strategies that reduce the solar flux during standby.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| May 31 2016
Review of avian mortality studies at concentrating solar power plants
AIP Conf. Proc. 1734, 070017 (2016)
Clifford K. Ho; Review of avian mortality studies at concentrating solar power plants. AIP Conf. Proc. 31 May 2016; 1734 (1): 070017. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4949164
Download citation file: