THE LARGEST UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR PLANTS IN THE COUNTRY
The Agua Caliente Solar Project is one of the largest solar power plants in the world. Located west of Gila Bend, Arizona, the plant already produces more than 250 megawatts, and is expected to produce as much as 397 megawatts when it is complete. The plant has 5,200,000 photovoltaic panels, covering around 2,400 acres. Construction began in 2011, and it cost around $1.8 billion. First Solar and NRG Solar are the builders and operators of the plant.
Antelope Valley Solar Ranch went online with 150 megawatts in 2013, and is expected to produce more than 230 megawatts when it is complete. Construction started in 2011, and 3,700,000 photovoltaic panels, built by First Solar, are now installed, covering around 2,100 acres in the western Antelope Valley of Southern California. The plant cost around $1.4 billion, and is among the largest solar plants in the world.
California Valley Solar Ranch is one of two solar power plants in the high and dry Carrizo Plain of Southern California. Construction started in 2011, and was complete in 2013, with the installation of its 749,088th photovoltaic panel. It was built by the Sun Power Corporation and NRG Solar, at a cost of $1.6 billion, and produces as much as 250 megawatts, from ten separate solar fields. It is one of the largest solar plants in the world.
The Centinela Solar Energy Project is one of a few large photovoltaic power plants in the southwestern Imperial Valley, west of Calexico, California. Construction started in 2012, and it has a 170 megawatt capacity. It was built by Fluor and the LS Power Group, at a cost of around $1.8 billion. It is adjacent to the Tanaska Solar Plant, and near the Mount Signal Solar Power Plant. Like the others, it provides power to San Diego, through the Sunrise Powerlink, a 117 mile-long 500 volt line put into service in 2012.
Mount Signal Solar is the largest of a few major photovoltaic plants being built in the southwestern Imperial Valley, west of Calexico. Construction started in 2012, and the plant started producing more than 100 megawatts in late 2013. When it is complete, it is expected to produce 265 megawatts. It has changed hands a few times, and been called a few things, including Imperial Valley Solar 1. It is now being built by Abengoa, Silver Ridge, and 8 Minute Energy, and is expected to cost more than $1.5 billion. Like the other plants in the area, it is connected to San Diego by the new Sunrise Powerlink transmission system.
Copper Mountain Solar 3 is located in the El Dorado Valley, south of Las Vegas, near some other, smaller solar plants. Construction started on this 250 megawatt photovoltaic power plant in 2013, and was completed in 2015. It is being built by AMEC and Sempra Energy, at a cost around $1.5 billion.
Desert Sunlight Solar will be one of the largest solar power plants in the world if it is built out to its expected 550 megawatts. Construction started in 2011, north of the remote Mojave town of Desert Center. Built by First Solar, Nextera, GE, and Sumitomo, the plant is likely to cost $2 billion, cover 3,800 acres, and use 8,800,000 photovoltaic panels.
The Genesis Solar Plant is a solar thermal power plant that began construction in 2011, and was producing 250 megawatts when it went online in 2014. It is located on the north side of Ford Dry Lake, west of Blythe, California. Genesis was built by Nextera, and cost around $1.5 billion. It is one of the largest parabolic trough-type power plants, with 600,000 concave mirrors that follow the sun and focus sunlight on a heat transfer fluid flowing through tubes in the troughs. The heated oil is pumped to heat exchangers where it generates steam, producing electricity. Most industrial scale solar plants made now are photovoltaic.
When it went online in early 2014, the Ivanpah Solar Power Plant was likely the largest solar power plant in the world. It is certainly the largest thermal solar power plant, with 3,500 acres of mirrors mounted on 173,500 heliostats, which track the sun, focusing it on three 450 foot tall towers full of flowing water, which generates steam, then electricity–as much as 392 megawatts. Construction started on the plant in 2011, built by Bechtel, Brightsource, NRG, and Google, at a cost of $2.2 billion. It is a futuristic landmark next to the Interstate, next to the state line, south of Las Vegas.
The Mesquite Solar Plant might produce 700 megawatts when completed, which would make it the largest solar plant in the world. Construction started in 2011, and the plant was producing 150 megawatts by 2013. It is a photovoltaic plant, with millions of panels, being built by Sempra Energy and Consolidated Edison. If built at the planned scale, it will cover six square miles, and cost more than $2 billion by the time it is done. It is located in western Arizona, near the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the largest nuclear power plant in the country.
The Mojave Solar Project is a solar power plant started in 2011, and finished in 2014. It is a solar thermal plant, using mirrored parabolic troughs, not photovoltaic panels. At 280 megawatts, it is among the largest plant of this type in the world. The Spanish company Abengoa built the $1.6 billion facility, which is located in Lockhart, California, next to the Harper Lake Solar Electric Generating Station, which for more than a 15 years was the largest solar power plant in the nation, producing 160 megawatts as early as 1990, and which is also a parabolic trough type. With a combined capacity of 440 megawatts, this is among the largest solar electric generating sites in the USA.
SEGS 3-7 (Kramer Junction) is a 150-megawatt solar power plant. It is one of three separate sites within 40 miles of one another which make up a total of nine solar fields in the Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS). Together these three facilities can generate about 354 megawatts at peak output. Until around 2005, this comprised most of the commercial solar power produced worldwide, and for nearly 15 years, this was the second largest solar power plant in the world. It is a solar thermal plant, using parabolic troughs to generate heat, then steam, then power. It is supplemented with natural gas.
For 15 years following its construction in 1990, this was the largest commercial solar power plant in the world, generating around 160 megawatts at its peak. It is one of three separately owned sites within 40 miles of one another that make up the nine solar fields in the Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS #1 and 2 are at Daggett, and #3 through 7 are at Kramer Junction). Harper Lake was the last of these built, and is designated as SEGS #8 and 9. It is still online, but has been surpassed by other newer facilities, including the Mojave Solar Project, which is being built next to it, and is expected to produce 280 megawatts when it goes online in 2014.
When Solana was completed in 2013 it was the largest thermal solar plant in the nation. It produces 280 megawatts, using the circulating heated oil system known as parabolic troughs, with concave mirrors in rows that track the sun, heating up a heat transfer fluid, generally Therminol, that makes steam, and then power. Located west of Gila Bend, Arizona, it was built by the Spanish company Abengoa, which built another 280-megawatt plant of the same type at Harper Lake, in California, which opened a year later. The cost of these plants is close to $2 billion, each.
The Topaz Solar Farm is the larger of two major solar power plants in the remote Carrizo Plain of California. Construction started in 2011 by First Solar, and when it was completed in 2014, with over 9 million photovoltaic panels, it was producing 550 megawatts, likely making it the largest solar power plant in the world, for a time. Part of the plant was built on the site of the Carrizo Solar Plant, built by the oil company ARCO. ARCO’s plant operated from around 1985 to 1994, when it was disassembled. Though it had just 100,000 panels, and produced only 5.2 megawatts, it was the largest photovoltaic plant in the world, during that time, by far.
of