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Published on May 16th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


“Largest Solar Power Plant in World” Now Under Construction, & Largest Solar PV Plant in North America Now in Operation

May 16th, 2012 by  

I know, you’re probably getting tired of all this “largest solar this, largest solar that, largest solar boat” news, but I guess we can just expect “bigger and bigger” solar news as the industry grows in leaps and bounds.

Largest Solar Power Plant in World?

Now, however, I’m a little confused about a recent MidAmerican Solar and First Solar statement saying that “the largest solar electric power plant in the world,” a 550-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic project in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. known as Topaz Solar Farms, was under construction. Why? Well, Mathias noted last month that India just dedicated a 600-MW solar power plant. Maybe I’m missing something?

Nonetheless, the 550-MW project is huge by current solar power standards. The project, which will create about 400 jobs and “generate nearly $417 million in local economic impact” in the three years it will take to be built, will supply enough power for about 160,000 California homes when completed. For more information on this project, check the news release linked above.

Largest North American Solar Power Plant in Operation

In addition to Topaz Solar Farms, First Solar, MidAmerican Solar, and NRG Energy also announced that North America’s largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant is now in operation.

The first 100 MW of the 290-MW (AC) Agua Caliente solar project inYuma County, Ariz. are now delivering electricity to the grid.

Once completed, the companies state that the project will be able to deliver power to about 225,000 homes (I guess Arizona homes are quite a bit less energy-hungry than California homes). Construction of this solar farm is also creating about 400 jobs, about 80% of which are Arizona jobs.

“Getting to this milestone of our first 100 megawatts at Agua Caliente illustrates the success of public-private partnerships to stimulate the construction of these large-scale solar projects, creating hundreds of construction jobs and providing clean, renewable power to thousands of homes,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar. “Large-scale projects like this also help drive down the price of solar, which will make it even more cost-competitive with conventional electricity generation in the near future.”

For more information on this story, check the First Solar news release. You may also enjoy this Agua Caliente video:

Images via First Solar 


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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