When we initially published this post in June 2011, the 10 largest solar farms in the United States were identified as follows:
10. Bakersfield, California – Kimberlina Solar Thermal Energy Plant This 5 megawatt (five million watts, or MW) plant was the first of its kind when it was initially built. It uses CLFR technology to create steam. The compact Linear Fresnel Reflector contains segments of mirrors to direct sunlight toward a central point on the reflectors. The solar boilers used to make superheated steam each have 13 narrow mirrors to track and focus the sunlight on the pipes overhead, and the steam spins a turbine which then makes electricity.
9. Alamosa, Colorado – Alamosa Photovoltaic Solar Plant With 83 acres of land, this 8.2 MW plant provides some energy to Xcel, which is what it was built to do. In 2008, the plant supplied power to around 1400 homes, making it the largest producer of PV power in the US for that year.
8. Blythe, California – Blythe Photovoltaic Power Plant Southern California Edison purchases power generated by this 21 MW plant. The Power Purchase Aggreement (PPA) created by Blythe was arranged in 2009 and is supposed to last for 20 years. This plant is scheduled to continue to grow until around 2013. By the time this year rolls around, the plant should be a 968 MW solar thermal power station.
7. Las Vegas, Nevada – Nellis Solar Power Plant Taking up 140 acres and consisting of more than 70,000 solar panels, this 14 MW solar farm can supply 25 percent of the base’s power. It’s due to expand to be able to produce up to 18 MW of power, but this plan is still in the works.
6. Gila Bend, Arizona – The Solana Solar Plant 1,900 acres is set aside for this plant in Gila Bend, and it will be used to compliment the solar facility in Deming once they are both up and running. This particular plant will have the ability to produce 280 MW of power and employ more than 1,500 people.
5. Deming, New Mexico With more than 3,200 acres to work with, Solar Torx and New Solar Ventures are creating a 300 MW solar farm in Deming. It is supposed to be 15 times larger than the biggest solar farm in existence today. Not only will hundreds of people be employed, but more than 240,000 homes will be supplied with energy from this enormous plant.
4. Tucson, Arizona Springerville Generating Station – 4.6 MW
3. Fresno, California – The San Joaquin Valley Customer Choice Solar Farm Due to be completed in 2011, this 80 MW solar farm takes up around 640 acres. This major project was initiated by Meridian Energy USA, formerly known as Cleantech America. It is a developer of solar farms and projects designed to help with renewable energy. The goal is to supply energy to at least 21,000 homes.
2. Boulder City, Nevada – Copper Mountain Solar Facility The 380 acre site allows plenty of room for this 48 MW plant to follow through with future plans of expanding to a 200 MW facility. Copper Mountain has a 20 year PPA with Pacific Gas and Electric.
1. Solar Energy Generating Systems – Mojave Desert, California This system is the largest in the world and it actually consists of nine individual solar power plants. The average output is around 75 MW. The 1,600 acre plant is operated by NextEra Energy Resources and covered with over 900,000 mirrors. Five of the nine plants that make up this system are located at Kramer Junction. This area receives 340 days of sunshine each year on average, making it a prime location for a solar plant.
Things have changed dramatically in the last four years. The size of the largest solar farms has grown by almost an order of magnitude, and the tenth largest farm produces more than twice as much electricity as the largest farm four years ago. We’ve modified this listing to include only photovoltaic systems, with the top ten U.S. solar farms identified as follows:
10. Imperial Valley Solar Farm – Imperial County, California 200 MW capacity; online August 2013.
9. Mesquite Solar Project – Arlington, Maricopa County, Arizona 207 MW capacity, ultimately to be expanded to 700 MW; first online December 2011.
8. Mount Signal Solar – Calexico, Imperial County, California 266 MW capacity, ultimately to be expanded to 800 MW; first online May 2014.
7. Antelope Valley Solar Ranch – near Lancaster, California 266 MW capacity; first online February 2013.
6. Agua Caliente Solar Project – Yuma County, Arizona 290 MW capacity; online April 2014.
5. California Valley Solar Ranch – Carrizo Plain, California Valley, California 292 MW capacity; completed October 2013.
4. Copper Mountain Solar Facility – Boulder City, Nevada 458 MW capacity; first operational December 2010.
3. Desert Sunlight Solar Farm – Desert Center, California 550 MW capacity; online February 2015.
2. Topaz Solar Farm – San Luis Obispo County, California 550 MW capacity; completed November 2014.
1. Solar Star – Rosamond, California 579 MW capacity; completed June 2015. Currently also the world’s largest solar farm, it has 1.7 million solar panels spread over 3,200 acres (1,300 hectares).
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