Top 10 Biggest solar parks in the world
In 2018, there has been a notable surge in the number of solar photovoltaic parks. We share the 10 largest:
10 | Copper Mountain Solar Facility, United States
Copper Mountain Solar Facility covers 10 km2 in Boulder City, Nevada, and was developed by Sempra Generation. Copper Mountain powers 18,000 homes with 552MW of power. It might seem surprising to see the US ranking lower in 2018 when it had been the leader of solar energy in 2016 and this is likely the result of President Trump’s imposed tariff on the importation of solar panels in the US in January 2018, which froze some US$2.5bn in projects.
9 | Solar Star, United States
Solar Star was originally the largest solar project in the world when it was completed in 2015, and its displacement is a testament to the speed at which solar power is growing internationally. Solar Star has a 579MW capacity, and powers over 250,000 homes near Rosamund, California. The power station is spread over 13 km2.
8 | Pavagada Solar Park, India
Pavagada Solar Park is one of the newest additions to this list, as 600MW became operational in March 2018. The park is one of many contending for the title of largest solar park in the world with its goal of reaching 2000MW by December 2019. It has yet to update its number of operational units.
7 | Kamuthi Solar Power Project, India
Kamuthi Solar Power Project is spread over 10 km2 in Kamuthi, Ramanathapuram district, about 90 km from Madurai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The site is the largest single-location solar in the world, and has the capacity of 648MW. The photovoltaic panels are cleaned each day by self-charging robots.
6 | Villanueva Solar Park, Mexico
Villanueva Solar Park covers 24km2.The park has increased its output to 828MW from 754MW in 2018. Enel, the company responsible for the operation of Villanueva, also has a secondary solar project: The Don José facility. The Don José facility generates 260 MW, making Enel the largest producer of photovoltaic energy in Mexico.
5 | Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, China
China is becoming a solar superpower and Longyangxia Dam Solar Park is located next to a hydropower station on the Yellow River in China’s Qinghai province. The solar power station is integrated with the hydroelectric power station, allowing for the regulation of output to balance the variable generation from solar before it is connected to the grid. This helps to conserve water. The park now has expanded to 850MW, keeping it high in the ranks.
4 | Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, India
Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park is situated the province of Andhra Pradesh. The plant is 24km2, and currently has 2,500 employees. The park was the first to send 1GW of electricity into the public grid in December 2017. The government plans to open two more parks, increasing the the output to the state grid to 2.75 GW by 2022.
3 | Datong Solar Power Top Runner Base, China
Datong Solar Power Top Runner Base completed its first stage or three with 1GW. The Base has plans in motion to expand it to the largest solar plant in the world once completed. Each phase is expected to generate 1GW. The powerbase features solar panels that are organised to look like pandas from an aerial view, in order to inspire interest in solar power from the general public.
2 | Bhadla Solar Park, India
Though Bhadla is physically larger than Tengger Desert (40km2), its output remains lower with 1,365 MW. On a visit to the plant by The Indian Express, Amitabh Sinha described the area as "almost unlivable" with temperatures of 46 and 48 degrees Celsius. 40% of the technicians are from local villages, and work to keep the solar panels functioning. The plant plans to extend its operations up to 2,25GW.
1 | Tengger Desert Solar Park, China
The largest solar park in the world is Tengger Desert Solar Park. Tengger Desert is located in Zhongwei, Ningxia, and covers 36,700 km2, and has been the largest park in the world since 2016. In China, the park is known as “The Great Wall of Solar”, generating over 1.5GW of power. While it has held this position for the last three years, it could very soon be outranked by the expansions planned by other parks such as Kurnool, Detong and Bhadla.