Far beyond the sprawling suburbs of Los Angeles lie acres of desert that are destined for development. But these hot, dry lands aren't going to be topped with tract homes. Nope, what they're slated to house is the largest expanse of solar facilities in the world. Ever. From Wired News:The momentous deal will deliver more electricity than even the largest nuclear plant, spread out among seven facilities, the first of which will start up in 2013. When fully operational, the companies say the facility will provide enough electricity to power 845,000 homes-more than exist in San Francisco-though estimates like that are notoriously squirrely. The technology isn't the familiar photovoltaics-the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity-but solar thermal power, which concentrates the sun's rays to create steam in a boiler and spin a turbine. The piece goes on to tout the benefits of solar thermal technology, which is scalable at the city level and which is a fusion of relatively old (steam) and new (solar) techonologies. Having used steam-turbine power for about a century, we (as a people) are pretty familiar with it, so the troubleshooting will be less of a crap-shoot than it would be with, say, straight-up photovoltaic power.Anyway, I'm excited, but what I really hope is that in the very near future, I'm blogging about another, newer biggest solar deal in history.