A new update from analyst firm Wiki-Solar has concluded that by the end of February utility-scale solar farms will have reached 12.2 GW of capacity across 488 installations, a figure almost double that of 12 months ago.
The report found that 6 GW of new utility-scale capacity has been connected worldwide in the last 12 months, with China alone installing nearly 2 GW since last February, pipping Germany as the country for solar power plants.
“The rate of growth is breath-taking”, says industry expert Philip Wolfe. “These figures get out-of-date before they are even published. In the last quarter alone, over 70 utility-scale solar projects totalling 1.5GW were registered under the Clean Development Mechanism.”
The report defined ‘utility-scale’ as any solar farm over the 10 MW barrier, gathering its data from Wiki-Solar’s database of solar projects published on its website and shown on an interactive global map.
The news comes at the same time that First Solar announced that their Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One has achieved a peak generating capacity of 100 megawatts (MW) connected to the electrical grid.
“We expect the USA to overtake Germany this year, too,” said Wolfe. “It has an impressive pipeline of large projects under construction and should go to the top of the table, if these are delivered on time.”
The current line-up has United States in at third, following China and Germany. Filling out the top five are Spain with 64 sites and India, with 44, double the next best contender at number six.
Germany has been at the head of lists like this for several years now, and we reported just a few days ago that Germany was at the head of new wind energy installations for 2012. But with China’s ability to flood the market with industrial products at the drop of a hat, coupled with an ever increasing population and need for electricity generation, it won’t be long before we see China at the top of all of these lists.