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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) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he’s also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, 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.

  • Amy3897

    I’m hearing that if a small plane fly over it it will flip over from the up draft of heat think about it this will cause a form of globle warming do we realy need to heat thing up?

    • Bob_Wallace

      So, are you booked to do standup anywhere around here soon?

      Bet you’ve got some more really good material….

    • LATimes article?

      that is basically a load of bunk. unfort., some people shouldn’t be in the media… if they are going to spread such nonsense.

  • ArchaeologyJim

    My small archaeological consulting company did the archaeological clearance survey at the Agua Caliente Solar project in SW Arizona. From an archaeological and environmental standpoint this site was perfect. Previously-disturbed and laser-leveled agricultural land already ringed by access roads. You couldn’t ask for a better site for a solar plant…and Arizona has hundreds of sites just like this one.

    I am very proud to have been a part of this important project and look forward to more projects like Agua Caliente. America needs this!

    • Awesome! 😀 Must have been a fun one to participate in! 😀

      Thanks for the note.

  • There is no 600MW solar power plant in India. That is a total number of capacity added in the state of Gujarat in western India. The recent public function was a “dedication” of this power to the nation. The projects are at different locations. The single largest solar park has about 204MW capacity. But, here too, the projects are spread across multiple developers/companies.

    • hmm, not united at all? looks like we need to make an update

  • Christophe Inglin

    I can explain the confusion over India’s “600MW farm”. It is not a single solar farm, but refers to the Charanka Solar Park, established by the Gujarat state government to attract developers to build solar farms of 5 to 25MW each. So far around 200MW of solar projects have been constructed at the Charanka Park.

    • thanks. that was my hunch. but i still think it counts as the largest. 😀

  • Pingback: Biggest CPV Plant in US Begins Commercial Operation - CleanTechnica()

  • Japan’s FiT in July is among the highest in the world. It’s clear that Japan’s FiT will shake the solar market. Saudi Arabia has the same options. Now, they’re using it. What about your country? New solar technology will show with these nations. This is it!
    As you know, earthquake in japan is happening frequently. Floating solar panels installation is one of the best solutions for power crisis in Japan. So you have to reduce the vibration to install Floating solar panels. Because, it makes many kinds of problems! The vibrations caused by wind, waves and external forces. New Floating Body Stabilizer for Floating solar panels installation has been created in South Korea. The Floating Body Stabilizers generate drag force immediately when Floating solar panels are being rolled and pitched on the water. Recently, this Floating Body Stabilizers using to reduce the Vibration of Floating Solar Panels in South Korea. You can see New Floating Body Stabilizer videos in YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moO–q5B92k, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA_xFp5ktbU&feature=youtu.be.

  • Bill_Woods

    “Once completed, the companies state that the [Agua Caliente] 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).”

    Apparently whoever wrote the press release forgot to account for the 25% capacity factor. Not that the ‘home’ is a good unit of energy, because usage does vary.

    “Annual Generation Output (MWh) 648,000 [=74 MW-yr]
    Households Equivalent (annual)** 56,000”

  • Ross

    Had to LOL at the “My previous job was driving a tank” green worker in the second video.

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