Clean Power gigawatts

Published on August 11th, 2013 | by Amber Archangel


Top 10 Gigawatts: Installed Solar Capacity (Infographic)

August 11th, 2013 by  

We’re hearing more and more about gigawatts in reference to the scale of renewable energy installations and clean energy generating capacity. Josh and Amber at decided to make a new infographic presenting a bit of information on gigawatts and installed solar capacity. Check it out:

What is one gigawatt of clean renewable energy?

One gigawatt (GW) is equal to one thousand megawatts (MW). Gigawatts and megawatts are often used for large power plants or power grids. For example, London Array, which is located around 20 kilometres off the coasts of Kent and Essex, has 175 Siemens 3.6MW turbines, with a combined capacity of 630 MW. London Array is the world’s largest offshore wind farm and is expected to produce enough electricity to power nearly half a million UK homes each year, according to Wikipedia and London Array.

Top 10 GW Solar Final 1

One gigawatt of power supply is around 1% of the UK energy supply. (Source:

China plans to have a total of 500 gigawatts of renewable energy on the grid by 2020.

There are already 25 GW of domestic wind power on the country’s grid currently. The plans will increase that number six times over to a powerful 150 GW. (Source:

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System that is located in the Mojave Desert in southern California is designed to deliver 377 megawatts (gross) of clean domestic electricity to more than 140,000 homes in California. There are three solar thermal plants at the Ivanpah solar complex that will collectively produce this amount of energy at any given time. It would take three projects about the size of Ivanpah to generate one gigawatt of solar power. (Source:

Fukushima produced more than 4 gigawatts of power

There were four nuclear reactors at the Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant. Each of the reactors had an electric power generation capacity of 1,100 MW (with a net output capacity of 1,067 MW each). This equates to just over one gigawatt of power generation capacity by each reactor. (Source: Wikipedia)

Fukushima Mirai, which is an immense floating offshore wind project located 20 kilometres off the coast of Fukushima, is planned to support 132 floating turbines. Each turbine is capable of producing 2 MW of energy. If the project is completed as planned, the wind farm will have a power generation capacity of nearly 264 MW. (Source: Windpower Offshore).

It would take four wind projects the scale of Fukushima Mirai to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy.

As occurrences of gigawatts of renewable energy become more common, the folks at 1Sun4All will produce more infographics. Stay tuned!

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About the Author

-- I am an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, graphic designer, and constant student of many studies. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, I helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Private aviation stirs a special appeal, I would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in my yard. I am a peace-loving, courageous soul, and I am passionate about contributing to the clean energy revolution. I formerly designed and managed a clean energy website,

  • Eduardo Lucero

    What is one gigawatt of clean renewable energy? Interesting question but GigaWatt is a unit of power …not energy!

  • uchida

    Why did you write Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant?
    Japan’s worst nuclear incident occurred at TEPCO’s Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
    Not Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant.

  • RobS

    I love a good infographic, unfortunately this isn’t one, the whole point of an Infographic is to use graphics to illustrate complex data. The graphics here do nothing to illustrate the point, in fact I would say that the graphics make the information harder to read then if the text were text alone.

    • anti_banker

      It should have been a pie chart with each country represented by a different size “slice”.

  • JamesWimberley

    From today’s perspective, putting 4 GW of nuclear capacity at Fukushima in one place was incredibly risky. Many of the points of failure would not be independent, and in fact the whole complex failed. Renewable proponents should not be jealous of such dinosaurs. Dispersal is a virtue.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Dispersal is a virtue.

      It is, but it comes with a cost. Utility scale solar is considerably cheaper than rooftop solar.

      It’s our free-standing nuclear plants which are in greatest danger of going bankrupt. Sites that have multiple reactors are able to operate a bit cheaper.

      • Omega Centauri

        Utility scale solar doesn’t have to come in gigawatt increments. Some small utility scale is under a megawatt, up to the gigawatt scale. The gigawatt farms are multiple square kilometers in size, i.e. they aren’t point sources anymore.

        • Matt

          Also if there is a problem at a PV site, you don’t normally lose the whole farm.

      • S.Nkm

        Yes, but with rooftop solar the energy is also used where it’s produced, which makes it more efficient. Minimal transmission losses.

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