Solar power is continuing to enhance its reputation as one of the fastest-growing renewable energy sources, with a number of the largest plants coming online in recent years. Today we will profile the largest solar power plants in the world.
As the world aims to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels amid the energy transition, several major economies are now looking to ramp up their share of solar power
India which is home to many of the largest solar power plants has placed high hopes on solar delivering a large portion of its 450-gigawatt (GW) clean energy target by 2030.
China currently holds the largest capacity share of renewable technology, having brought about 40GW into operation in 2020, taking its total installed solar capacity to 240GW.
LARGEST SOLAR POWER PLANTS IN THE WORLD
1. Bhadla Solar Park, India – 2.25GW
The Bhadla Solar Park, which is the largest solar power plant in the world, is based in Bhadla village, in India’s Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district – a region known for its solar-friendly high temperatures.
The power plant was commissioned in March 2020 with an installed capacity of 2.25GW and it spans 14,000 acres.
The site was developed by multiple entities, such as Rajasthan Solar Park Development Company Limited, Saurya Urja Company, and Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan.
Rajasthan’s solar power consumption is currently 10% of the state’s total power usage.
2. Huanghe Hydropower Hainan Solar Park, China – 2.2GW
The Huanghe Hydropower Hainan Solar Park in China’s remote Qinghai province is the second-largest solar site in the world.
The plant, which has an installed capacity of 2.2GW, was built in five phases and includes 202.8 megawatts (MW)/megawatt-hours (MWh) of storage capacity.
The project was developed by Chinese state-owned utility Huanghe Hydropower Development for 15.04bn Chinese renminbi ($2.31bn) and came online in September 2020.
The facility is connected to an ultra-high voltage power line that is being built to connect the far north-western parts of the country to the more densely populated eastern provinces.
3. Shakti Sthala solar power project, India – 2GW
Previously the largest fully operational solar park, the 2GW Shakti Sthala solar power project in Karnataka, India, is the third-largest plant of its type in the world.
Developed by the Karnataka Solar Park Development Corporation Limited (KSPDCL) and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the facility spans more than 13,000 acres of land.
The 14,800 Rupees crore ($2.1bn) project was completed in December 2019. It comprises eight segments of PV installations and the rated capacity of each segment is 250MW, each of which is further divided into five blocks of 50MW capacity.
4. Benban Solar Park, Egypt – 1.65GW
The Benban Solar Park, which is based about 650km south of Egypt’s capital city Cairo in Benban, is the largest solar power plant in Africa and the fourth-largest facility of its kind.
The site is owned by the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) and it has a total capacity of 1.65GW – corresponding to an annual production of about 3.8 terawatt-hours (TWh).
The solar park was completed in November 2019 for $4bn and is subdivided into 41 separate plots.
5. Tengger Desert Solar Park, China – 1.55GW
The Tengger Desert Solar Park in Ningxia, China, is the fifth-largest solar power plant in the world.
The 1.55GW facility often referred to as the “Great Wall of Solar”, covers 1,200km of the 36,700km Tengger desert.
It is owned by China National Grid and Zhongwei Power Supply Company. The power plant was brought online in 2017 and now supplies clean energy to more than 600,000 homes.
PREVIOUS LARGEST SOLAR POWER PLANTS IN THE WORLD AS OF 2009
1. Arnedo Solar Plant, Spain
The plant produces an impressive 34 GWh every year, which will power 12,000 households and prevent 375,000 tonnes of CO2. The facility sits on seventy hectares and houses 172,000 panels. The project’s budget was around €180,000,000. La Rioja, a Spanish region known for its wine, already covers 62% of its electricity with renewable sources.
2. Waldpolenz Solar Park, Germany
Waldpolenz Solar Park, which is the world’s largest thin-film photovoltaic (PV) power system, is built in on a military airbase to the east of Leipzig in Germany. The power plant is a 40-megawatt solar power system using state-of-the-art thin-film technology. current UTC time. 550,000 First Solar thin-film modules are used, which supplies 40,000 MWh of electricity per year. The investment cost for the Waldpolenz solar park amounts to some Euro 130 million.
3. Moura photovoltaic power station, Portugal
The Moura photovoltaic power station is located in the municipality of Moura, in Alentejo, Portugal, which is one of the sunniest regions in Europe and also one of the most economically depressed. Its construction involves two stages, with the first one being constructed in 13 months and completed in 2008, and the other will be completed by 2010, at a total cost of €250 million for the project.
The power station will have an installed capacity of 46 MWp, counting a total of over 376,000 solar panels. Almost 190,000 panels (32 MW) are fitted on fixed structures, 52,000 (10 MW) on single-axis trackers, which follow the sun across the sky, and a further 20 MW of power capacity will be added during phase two of the project. It will occupy an area of 320 acres (130 hectares), producing 88 GWh of electrical energy per year.
4. Puertollano Photovoltaic Park, Spain
Renovalia developed this power station in Puertollano, Ciudad Real, housing an energy park with an installed capacity of 50 megawatts (MW). The power generated here is equivalent to the annual domestic consumption of electricity of about 39,000 households. The energy produced here will replace a theoretical discharge of 84,000 tons of CO2/year or, 2.1 million tons of CO2 over the 25 years during it’s production.
5.Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park, Spain
The Olmedilla Photovoltaic (PV) Park uses 162,000 flat solar photovoltaic panels to deliver 60 megawatts of electricity on a sunny day. The entire plant was completed in 15 months at a cost of about $530 million at current exchange rates. Olmedilla was built with conventional solar panels, which are made with silicon and tend to be heavy and expensive.
6.Rancho Cielo Solar Farm, USA
The Rancho Cielo Solar Farm is the largest proposed solar farm in the United States. It is located in an industrial community in Belen, New Mexico named Rancho Cielo and is expected to provide the majority of the community’s power when it is completed. It’s cost expectation is $840 million and it will provide 600 MWp and will cover an area of 700 acres (280 ha). The solar farm will be using thin-film silicon panels will be built locally.
7. Topaz Solar Farm, USA
Topaz Solar Farm is a proposed 550 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, to be built by First Solar, Inc. (thin-film silicon solar module maker) in the Carrizo Plain, northwest of California Valley at a cost of over $1 billion. On August 14, 2008, Pacific Gas and Electric announced an agreement to buy all the power from the power plant.
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