When we first discussed working on a story about how California leads the pack on large-scale alternative energy projects, photographer Jamey Stillings immediately came to mind.

Stillings began photographing the Ivanpah Solar project in October 2010, with a flyover of the the Mojave Desert. He photographed the land that would be transformed into the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the largest solar plant in the world. Construction on the Ivanpah solar project ended in 2014, the same year Stillings published his work—more than three years of aerial photography of the site—as a book, The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar (Steidl).

Stillings has since continued documenting alternative-energy projects in California and other states in a larger project called Energy in the American West. Below are a few images from the Ivanpah project and some of the other alternative-energy sites he’s photographed in California.

Installing a heliostat for Unit 1, with mountains reflected in its mirrors, at Ivanpah Solar in the Mojave Desert of California.

Installing wind turbines at Ocotillo Wind, off I-8 in Southern California.

Construction of wind turbines at the Ocotillo Wind farm.

Wind turbines from the Ocotillo Wind project along Interstate 8 in California.

First Solar’s Desert Sunlight site in Riverside county, California.

Desert Sunlight solar farm in Riverside County, California.

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm.

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm.

Ivanpah Solar Farm in the Mojave Desert, California.

Ivanpah Solar Farm, the largest solar thermal power station in the world.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.