As at June 2017, India and China occupy the lead position as developers of large scale solar projects. Further, it is gratifying to note that many other nations including the U.S., UK, Germany, Australia are all increasingly focused on solar power as a sustainable alternative source to meet rising energy needs of the respective nations. In the US, Tesla has been in the forefront of the solar revolution and has already made a mark for itself in the home, automotive as well as large scale sector under solar power projects.
In the coming years, solar energy is expected to significantly reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, particularly for the generating electricity. Recent years have seen many countries installing solar power farms to contain harmful emissions and enhance the contribution of clean energy to the nation’s energy mix. With an average of 300 sunny days in a year, Australia and India enjoy significant advantages in the area of forging ahead further in harnessing solar energy. While Australia has made impressive progress in recent years, India has already taken the lead topping the global table today.
Following are some of the biggest solar power plants across the globe today, with more in the pipeline:-
Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park – India – 900 MW
The installed capacity of this plant is 1 GW or 1,000 MWs and was fully commissioned in the month of July 2017. As of now, this is the biggest among all solar PV plants operational across the globe. With this, the Kurnool project has overtaken the Kamuthi project with a capacity of 648 MW which was commissioned earlier in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu. Earlier, the Topaz Solar park in California with a capacity of 550 MW topped the list.
Kamuthi Solar Power project -648 MW – India
This plant located in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu is spread over 10 sq. kilometres and has a capacity of 648 MW. 2.5 m solar panels are arrayed at this plant and the plant is expected to cater to the power needs of about 750,000 people. It took just about 8 months to build the entire plant and a robotic system cleans the plant every day. It also has a capacity to charge its own solar panels. When fully operational, the plant can produce electrical energy to meet the needs of about 150,000 homes. The project was set up at a cost of $679 million. Solar projects are on the rise and if you need to do this for your residential solar there are some great companies with reviews like here, here and here.
Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Park, India
This is a 750 MW solar park located in Madhya Pradesh in Central India. The project is a joint venture between Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas and SECI or Solar Energy Corp of India. This project is also expected to significantly contribute to the nation’s ambition of achieving 100GW solar energy generation by 2022 and in turn offset about 1 million ton of greenhouse gas emission. The project consists of 3×250 MW solar plants and is among the biggest solar projects globally.
Longyangxia Dam Solar Park China – 850 MW
This solar firm is located on the Tibetan Plateau of China and is capable of catering to the power needs of 200,000 households. This facility in Quinghai province of northwest China is managed by State Power Investment Corporation, which is also among the top power generators in China. The cost of this plant is about $880m and is part of a long line of large-scale projects for solar energy. Longyangxia is also expanding rapidly coinciding with the fast growing solar power space of China.In 2016 alone, China’s installed capacity of solar power doubled to 77 GW pushing the country well ahead of global leaders like the United States, Germany and Japan in the area of solar power generation. However, in terms of per capita generation of solar power, these countries are ahead of China.
Shanxi Datong – China 100 MW
This project located in Datong, Shanxi province forms part of the “Top Runner Programme” of the NEA and is the first among the ’National Advanced Photovoltaic Technology Demonstration Base’. A testing laboratory is to be set up in the base in collaboration with TUV which is the leading inspection agency in the world to promote and explore new model and a new path for scale-development in industrial up-gradation and solar power generation.
Tengger Desert – China – 1500 MW solar park
This project has an installed capacity of 1547 MW and is located at Zhongwei, Ningxia and is called as “Great Wall of Solar” by the Chinese people. the Tengger Desert is a naturally arid region covering about 36,700 km. This solar field covers 1,200km or about 3.2% of this land.
China is also fast shedding its tag as a smog-blanketed, coal-guzzling polluter and makes enhanced investments every year in renewable energy than any other nation in the world. China also recently switched on it’s floating solar power plant which is the largest in the category anywhere in the world so far. The city of Huainan is home for this facility and has an installed capacity of 40MW.
Solar Star projects – California
This 579 MW project ranks among the larger solar projects around the globe and covers 3,230 acres. This project took about 2 years to complete.
Desert Sunlight Solar Farm – California: Operating capacity of this plant is 550MW and Riverside County of California is home for the project. The project is capable of powering about 160,000 homes and reducing about 300,000 mt of greenhouse emission per year.
Topaz Solar Farms – California
San Luis Obispo County of California is home for this project with an installed capacity of 550MW.This project is capable of meeting the power needs of about 160,000 homes and offsetting about 377,000 mt of carbon dioxide every year
Apart from these, there are several other projects in different stages of completion and more in the pipeline. Given the global initiatives under way, we should expect to achieve a significant reduction in our carbon footprint, in the years to come.