The solar power industry has come a long way in the last few decades. Once thought of as an unviable renewable energy solution, today there are dozens of countries around the world that rely on solar power as their primary source of electricity generation. This article lists the top 10 solar power plants in the world based on the total capacity they generate annually.
Freiburg Solar Park, Germany
For a long time, Germany has been one of Europe’s leaders in solar power. The Freiburg Solar Park is a prime example of Germany’s commitment to solar energy. Founded by TenneT TSO GmbH, a subsidiary of energy giant RWE AG, and based on technology by Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., Freiburg is located near Stuttgart, Germany, and generates an average annual output of 880,000 MWh.
Charanka Solar Park, India
The Charanka Solar Park is a 300 MW solar plant located at Charanka village, Gujarat, India. The PV power plant was opened in May 2011 and cost $230 million to build. The facility has 800,000 solar panels which are located on 860 acres of land. #8. Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, India: The Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park is a 1 GW (gigawatt) solar park located near Kurnool city in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Agua Caliente, USA
This power plant has a capacity of 290 MW. Located in Yuma County, Arizona, Agua Caliente is currently one of America’s biggest solar facilities. The power plant uses photovoltaic cells to generate electricity. The solar facility covers 930 acres and was built by NextEra Energy Resources. It was started in 2011, and its construction cost about $1 billion.
California Valley Solar Ranch One, USA
550 MW California Valley Solar Ranch One is a 550 MW photovoltaic power plant, built by First Solar and owned by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. LLC, which began operating in January 2014. Located in San Luis Obispo County near California Valley, it uses approximately 895,000 cadmium telluride modules. The project cost about $2 billion and employed about 1,500 people during construction. That’s enough solar power to produce electricity for over 230,000 homes.
2,134 MWs This powerhouse is located in Tanzania. It’s been functioning since 2015. Before it was constructed, its construction site used to be a crocodile pond and then a site for archaeological excavations. In fact, archaeologists found many valuable historical artifacts during their work here. The total land area that its solar panels cover is about 1,977 acres (square kilometers). The power plant generates 3 billion KWh of electricity each year, which is enough to power more than 240,000 homes!
Quaid Najmuddin, Pakistan
Quaid Najmuddin is Pakistan’s largest and most productive solar plant, rated at 100 MW. The Quaid project’s 552,000 PV modules generate clean electricity for more than 90,000 homes each year—that’s about 380 megawatt-hours of free power every day. To put that number into perspective, consider that generating 1 megawatt-hour from a typical coal plant releases 200 pounds of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.
Tengger Desert, China
9.5 million panels cover 3,000 acres of land and generate 1.1 gigawatts of power—enough to provide clean energy for 500,000 homes. The Tengger Desert facility is expected to produce 5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, which would make it one of China’s top five solar farms. Next year (2018), construction will start on an adjacent installation that would double its output capacity.
Golmud City, China
The Golmud Solar Park covers an area of 100 square kilometers, a total area equivalent to 140,000 soccer fields. In fact, it’s one of largest solar power stations in world. The 4 million solar panels at Golmud City provide 3 gigawatts (GW) of electric power per day – enough electricity to meet 3 million people’s daily needs. This remarkable achievement was completed by specialists from China’s National Energy Administration and State Grid Corporation of China.
King Abdullah City, Saudi Arabia
If you’re not a solar energy expert, you may have never heard of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City. This massive solar power plant is located on an unused and flat plot of land about 50 miles north of Riyadh. Its 13 square miles is covered with 2.5 million ultra-high-efficiency polycrystalline silicon solar panels, making it larger than 25,000 football fields combined.
Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, India
When completed, it will be a 2.5-gigawatt (GW) solar photovoltaic power station spread across 5,400 acres of land. When operational, it will be one of India’s largest solar power plants and help Kurnool achieve its goal of running exclusively on renewable energy by 2017. And yes—when operational, it will move to number one on our list!