Now, however, I’m a little confused about a recent MidAmerican Solar and First Solar statement saying that “the largest solar electric power plant in the world,” a 550-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic project in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. known as Topaz Solar Farms, was under construction. Why? Well, Mathias noted last month that India just dedicated a 600-MW solar power plant. Maybe I’m missing something?
Nonetheless, the 550-MW project is huge by current solar power standards. The project, which will create about 400 jobs and “generate nearly $417 million in local economic impact” in the three years it will take to be built, will supply enough power for about 160,000 California homes when completed. For more information on this project, check the news release linked above.
Largest North American Solar Power Plant in Operation
In addition to Topaz Solar Farms, First Solar, MidAmerican Solar, and NRG Energy also announced that North America’s largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant is now in operation.
The first 100 MW of the 290-MW (AC) Agua Caliente solar project inYuma County, Ariz. are now delivering electricity to the grid.
Once completed, the companies state that the project will be able to deliver power to about 225,000 homes (I guess Arizona homes are quite a bit less energy-hungry than California homes). Construction of this solar farm is also creating about 400 jobs, about 80% of which are Arizona jobs.
“Getting to this milestone of our first 100 megawatts at Agua Caliente illustrates the success of public-private partnerships to stimulate the construction of these large-scale solar projects, creating hundreds of construction jobs and providing clean, renewable power to tget housands of homes,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar. “Large-scale projects like this also help drive down the price of solar, which will make it even more cost-competitive with conventional electricity generation in the near future.”
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