Solar plants burning through records

In the face of increasing global demand for alternative energy sources, engineers around the world are building bigger solar-power facilities. Here are some of the powerhouse projects being planned in the U.S. and abroad.


According to , engineers across the globe have spent the past few months topping each other in building sizable solar-power facilities, each one larger than the next.

The surge started when authorities in Las Vegas announced plans to put up what would have been the world’s largest thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, a 10-MW facility outside city limits. Around the same time, plans started for a 25-MW solar PV plant in Florida, this time using conventional solar panels.

Since those two facilities were announced, however, six different agencies announced plans for solar power systems huge enough to leave the Sin City and Sunshine State facilities in the dust:
* Haldia, West Bengal: 250-MW integrated solar power facility
* Mojave Desert, Calif.: three solar-thermal power plants, outputting a total of 500 MW
* San Luis Obispo County, Calif.: 550-MW thin-film, 250-MW conventional solar
* Las Vegas: three interconnected solar-thermal plants, with total capacity of 1,200 MW
* Gujarat, India: 5-GW solar plant (technology not yet disclosed).

In addition to those plants, General Motors announced plans to install the world’s largest rooftop solar array at its Zaragosa, Spain, assembly plant. While nowhere near the magnitude of the other plans, its size is still significant—it consists of 85,000 panels stretching across 2 million sq ft of rooftop space, for an output of 12 MW.

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