Top 5 Largest Solar Power Plants of the World
U.S. demand for solar power is surging despite an economic recession, thanks to government financial incentives, some easing in credit availability, and increasing public recognition of its environmental benefits. Although the largest utility scale plants are outside the United States, 2 Plants currently in construction in California and New Mexico will balance the European dominance in large scale solar utility projects.
5. Arnedo Solar Plant, Spain
The plant produces an impressive 34 GWh every year, which will power 12,000 households and prevent 375,000 tonnes of CO2. The facility sits on seventy hectares and houses 172,000 panels. The project’s budget was around €180,000,000. La Rioja, a Spanish region known for its wine, already covers 62% of its electricity with renewable sources.
4. Waldpolenz Solar Park, Germany
Waldpolenz Solar Park, which is the world’s largest thin-film photovoltaic (PV) power system, is built in on military air base to the east of Leipzig in Germany. The power plant is a 40-megawatt solar power system using state-of-the-art thin film technology. 550,000 First Solar thin-film modules are used, which supplies 40,000 MWh of electricity per year. The investment cost for the Waldpolenz solar park amounts to some Euro 130 million.
3. Moura photovoltaic power station, Portugal
The Moura photovoltaic power station is located in the municipality of Moura, in Alentejo, Portugal, which is one of the sunniest regions in Europe and also one of the most economically depressed. Its construction involves two stages, with the first one being constructed in 13 months and completed in 2008, and the other will be completed by 2010, at a total cost of €250 million for the project.
The power station will have an installed capacity of 46 MWp, counting a total of over 376,000 solar panels. Almost 190,000 panels (32 MW) are fitted on fixed structures, 52,000 (10 MW) on single-axis trackers, which follow the sun across the sky, and a further 20 MW of power capacity will be added during phase two of the project. It will occupy an area of 320 acres (130 hectares), producing 88 GWh of electrical energy per year.
2. Puertollano Photovoltaic Park, Spain
Renovalia developed this power station in Puertollano, Ciudad Real, housing an energy park with an installed capacity of 50 megawatts (MW). The power generated here is equivalent to the annual domestic consumption of electricity of about 39,000 households. The energy produced here will replace a theoretical discharge of 84,000 tons of CO2/year or, 2.1 million tons of CO2 over the 25 years during it’s production.
1. Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park, Spain
The Olmedilla Photovoltaic (PV) Park uses 162,000 flat solar photovoltaic panels to deliver 60 megawatts of electricity on a sunny day. The entire plant was completed in 15 months at a cost of about $530 million at current exchange rates. Olmedilla was built with conventional solar panels, which are made with silicon and tend to be heavy and expensive.
Rancho Cielo Solar Farm, USA
The Rancho Cielo Solar Farm is the largest proposed solar farm in the United States. It is located in an industrial community in Belen, New Mexico named Rancho Cielo, and is expected to provide the majority of the community’s power when it is completed. It’s cost expectation is $840 million and it will provide 600 MWp, and will cover an area of 700 acres (280 ha). The solar farm will be using thin film silicon panels will be built locally.
Topaz Solar Farm, USA
Topaz Solar Farm is a proposed 550 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, to be built by First Solar, Inc. (thin film silicon solar module maker) in the Carrizo Plain, northwest of California Valley at a cost of over $1 billion. On August 14, 2008, Pacific Gas and Electric announced an agreement to buy all the power from the power plant.