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.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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