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Solar Farms- the next big thing in Solar Space

Solar Farms- the next big thing in Solar Space

Posted on Feb. 15, 2019 by Snigdha Mandal

Solar farms are considered as the large-scale application of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate green, clean electricity at scale, usually to feed into the grid. A solar farm also termed as solar parks or solar fields can cover anything between 1 acre and 100 acres, and are usually developed in rural areas. Usually, $3 million is expected to be spent on developing one-megawatt solar farm if it is a larger one or approximately $500,000 per acre. We need to mention that solar farms that produce less than one megawatt of power usually cannot justify the cost of development.  In 2018, 11.2 GW of new utility-scale projects have been announced in the United States.

If reports are to be believed, in recent times, power companies are shying away from ‘traditional’ power plants that burn coal and oil and instead building massive fields full of solar panels. Experts believe that solar is one of the cleanest and most abundant energy resources on the earth, and if we take just a small corner of Utah and Nevada and fill it up with solar panels, we will be able to produce enough energy to meet all of America’s power needs.

According to the SEIA, there are nearly 7,400 major solar projects in the USA and this representing over 107 GW of capacity. There are about 32 GW of major solar projects currently operating. With over 74 GW of large-scale solar projects either under construction or under development, there remains an enormous amount of capacity in the pipeline.

While in the 3rd quarter of 2018, residential and non-residential installations were flat and slightly up, utility PV accounted for the lowest share of new solar capacity since Q1 2012 at 39%. Utility-scale solar contracted below 1 GW this quarter, demonstrating the impacts of Section 201 tariff uncertainty earlier in the year. Solar PV has accounted for 30% of new electricity generation capacity overall, through the first three quarters of 2018; which is lower compared to 2017 because of a surge in new natural-gas plants in 2018.

Top Five Solar Farms in USA:

Solar Star

Formerly known as Antelope Valley Solar Projects, this 579 MW solar power plant was completed in 2015 and currently stands as the largest operating solar farm in the world. The plant, which is located in California’s Rosamond, uses 1.7 million solar panels made by SunPower Group.

Topaz Solar Farm

With 550 MW photovoltaic capacities, Topaz solar power plant in San Luis Obispo County, California is fully operational since November 2014. It uses 9 million modules from First Solar and produces sufficient electricity to power 160,000 average California homes.

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm

Located in the Sonoran Desert of California, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is a 550 MW solar power plant. The farm is tied with the Topaz Solar Farm in terms of power capacity and makes both of them tied for the second largest solar plants.

[Read more: Find the Best Angle for Your Solar Panel]

Copper Mountain Solar

Situated in Boulder City, Nevada, the Copper Mountain Solar Facility is a 458 MW solar power plant that was constructed in 2010. The total solar farm is made up of the 58 MW 1st phase called Solar 1, 150 MW 2nd phase called Solar 2, and 250 MW 3rd phase called Solar 3.

Agua Caliente

A 289 MW solar power facility in Yuma County, Arizona, the Agua Caliente Solar Project generates enough electricity to serve around 225,000 average homes and will reduce 5.5 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The facility uses over 5 million thin-film cadmium telluride solar modules. This farm is expected to produce an average of 626.2GWh of clean energy each year.

Some other notable solar power plants include the 750 MW McCoy Solar Energy Center, the 1,200 MW (1.2 Gigawatt) Sterling Solar Project, and the 2,700 MW (2.7 GW) Westlands Solar Park. All of these solar power plants will be located in California.

To get a full list of all major solar farms across the USA, contact us at info@iSolarWorld.com or +1.201.285.2024.