Solar electric “power towers” that use vast fields of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays onto elevated boilers are supposed to be the next big thing in alternative energy — a 377-megawatt plant that takes up 3,500 acres in California’s Mojave Desert is supposed to go online this year, powering more than 140,000 homes at peak production hours. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will employ enough mirrors to cover the Empire State Building 54 times, reports.

But what if the mirrors were placed on a skyscraper, and focused back at people on the ground? That’s sort of what’s going on with the 37-story “Walkie Talkie” building in London, which features a reflective, concave surface that beams sunlight down at the ground, creating temperatures hot enough at certain times of the day to allegedly melt parts of a car parked nearby. The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles created similar problems after it was completed in 2003, until the building’s stainless steel panels were sanded down to reduce their reflectivity. Source:


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