Top 5: Largest solar farms in the world
Which solar farms are producing the most electricity for businesses and consumers around the world? Here are five of the most important sites.
5. Qinghai Golmud Solar Park
Qinghai Golmud Solar Park is situated in the Qinghai Province of China and has a 500MW capacity.
The solar park was built in 2009 and commissioned in October 2011 by Longyuan Power.
Phase-IV (which is currently under construction) will add another 60MW capacity to the site when it’s completed.
4. Longyangxia Dam Solar Park
Longyangxia Dam Solar Park is situated in the Yellow River in Gonghe County in China's Qinghai province.
Construction of the project started in March 2013 with Phase One and was finished within nine months. In December of the same year, the solar farm went online with a 320MW total capacity.
In August 2014, the construction of Phase Two started and was finished in the later months of 2015. This raised the total capacity to 530MW.
The solar project covers over nine square kilometres of land and forms part of one of the largest hybrid hydro-solar PV (photovoltaic) power stations on the globe.
3. Topaz Solar Farms
Topaz Solar Farms is located in San Luis Obispo County, California. It cost $2.5 billion to build and is spread over 24.6 square kilometres of land. It has a 550MW capacity, is owned by BHE Renewables and was developed by First Solar.
The farm has over nine million solar panels, which are all mounted at a 25-degree angle to ensure that they get the best sun exposure. The power created powers approximately 160,000 homes.
Construction of the farm started in November 2011 and was completed later in 2014.
The energy that is generated displaces roughly 377,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, which is equivalent to getting rid of 73,000 cars off the road.
2. Desert Sunlight Solar Farm
Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is located in Riverside County, California. The farm has a 550MW capacity and is built on over 15 square kilometres of land which is managed by the Federal Bureau of Land Management.
Phase One of the solar farm delivered a 300MW capacity and then later (in 2015), Phase Two added another 250MW of capacity; Totalling the full 550MW capacity.
Construction of the farm commenced in September 2011 and created more than 400 jobs for construction workers over a 26-month period.
The energy that is generated at the farm powers over 160,000 homes in the county.
1. Solar Star Projects
Solar Star Projects is currently the largest solar farm in the world with over 1.7 million solar panels. It is spread over 13 square kilometres of land near Rosamond, California and has a 579MW capacity.
Construction of the farm started at the beginning of 2013, was completed in 2015 and generated over 650 construction jobs.
The plant creates enough clean electricity to power nearly 255,000 homes.
Solar Star Projects produces enough electricity that would be the equivalent to removing more than two million cars off the road (over a 20-year period).
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.