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.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.