International demand for solar energy has been steadily growing by 20-25% a year for the past two decades. In the United states, solar energy growth is about 60% a year. Looking at how fast solar energy plants are growing and how large they’re becoming year by year is reveals that the future for solar is shining bright.
World’s Largest Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Power Plants
By 2011, Deming, New Mexico, USA will be the home of the world’s largest solar power plant. This 300 Megawatt solar facility will be 15 times the size of the current largest solar plant on the planet. New Solar Ventures and Solar Torx are the companies behind the project. The solar energy plant will cover as many as 1,300 hectares and employ between 300 and 400 people. The project’s planners estimate that the plant will supply enough energy to power 240,000 homes.
The Solana solar plant, 70 miles from Pheonix, near Gila Bend, Arizona, USA, will compliment the Deming plant when both begin operations in 2011. It will produce 280 megawatts of energy, provide 1,500 jobs, and cover an area of 769 hectares. The solar power facility will be the child of Abengoa Solar and Arizona Public Service Company. However, the project depends on the United States Congress to renew clean energy tax credits, which would otherwise expire at the end of 2008.
Australia may briefly capture the prize for biggest solar with a plant near Mildura, Victoria, Australia. It will go into operation in 2010 and continue to grow in size until its completion in 2013. A project of TRUenergy and Solar Systems, the plant will generate 154 Megawatts of solar energy. With the Mildura plant complete, Solar Systems will continue to expand in Australia with the goal of 270,000 megawatts of output from a number of plants. Australia’s renewable energy goal is 20% by 2020.
An 80 megawatt solar farm in Fresno, California, USA will be completed by 2011. Cleantech, together with the California Construction Authority, will be responsible for construction. When finished, the plant will occupy about 260 hectares. It will be called the Kings River Conservation District Community Choice Solar Farm. In addition to this solar farm, Cleantech is in the preparing to develop several other facilities of a similar size also in California. In addition to these centralized solar energy plants, California’s Governor Scharzenegger pushed through legislation by the name of SB 1 with which California will add solar panels to one million roofs throughout the state by 2018.
The Waldpolenz Solar Park in Brandis, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, near Leipzig. It’s located on the site of a former military airfield. Talk about swords to plowshares. Now that the PV plant has received building approval, its construction is underway. Juwi Solar, the company spearheading the construction, has set a goal of completion of the plant for 2009. At that time, the facility will be able to generate 40 megawatts.