The energy race is on!
Countries across all the continents are sprinting towards the coveted title of having the largest solar farms in the world.
As a result, the list of large utility-scale solar projects worldwide is getting longer. It all depends on which countries get the maximum and optimum irradiation.
Besides China, the USA, India, many smaller countries also receive intense sunshine nearly all year long. Such a massive production of solar electricity by these solar farms could be the key to meet the electricity demands of this planet.
In this post, we have listed the top 19 solar farms that are located in different parts of the world.
Here is the world’s largest solar power plant list:
1. Noor Complex Solar Power Plant, Morocco
Noor Complex solar power farm is the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world.
Located in the Sahara Desert, the project has a 580-megawatt capacity and is estimated to provide electricity to more than one million people once completed by 2020.
The solar farm site is close to the city of Ouarzazate, which is famous for filming Hollywood blockbusters like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Gladiator.”
Besides generating a large quantity of electricity, the Noor Complex solar farm also aims to reduce carbon emissions by almost 760,000 tons annually.
The first phase of the three-part project, Noor 1, produces 160 MW of the total 580 MW capacity and has already reduced the country’s carbon footprint significantly since it became operational in 2016.
2. Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, India
Kamuthi solar farm is located in Tamil Nadu, a southern state in India spread across 10 square kilometres.
The farm can produce 648 megawatts of electricity. In 2016, this project was considered as the largest solar power plant at a single location.
The cost of the project was nearly $679 million and was completed in just eight months.
Kamuthi solar farm has 2.5 million individual solar modules and is expected to generate enough electricity to power almost 150,000 homes.
The solar farm is cleaned up daily by using a robotic system, which is charged by its own solar panels.
3. Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, China
Spread across more than 25 square kilometres, the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park has 4 million solar panels.
The site is located in Qinghai province in northwestern China and is one of the top five power producers in the country.
In 2017, the solar farm’s capacity of 850 megawatts and size made it the largest solar farm in the world.
Phase I of the project was completed in 2013, followed by Phase II in 2015, with a total construction cost of nearly 6 billion yuan ($920.84m).
Currently, the solar park produces around 220-gigawatt hours of electricity annually, which is enough to power 200,000 homes.
4. Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, India
After completing the Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh, India claimed the title of the largest solar park in the world. The solar park’s total capacity is 1000 MW.
Kurnool solar park is spread over 5,932.32 acres (24.0072 sq km), with more than 4 million solar panels installed, each with a capacity of 315W. The construction costs were nearly $1 billion.
This solar park became operational in May 2017, and by October was producing more than 800 million units of energy and reduced over 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
5. Shakti Sthala, Pavagada, Karnataka, India
Shakti Sthala is the third largest solar park in India and also one of the largest in the world.
Located in Karnataka’s Tumkur district, this solar project is spread across 13,000 acres and five villages. This project is part of the “Karnataka Solar Policy 2014-2021.”
The massive 2,000 MW capacity solar park, when completed, will generate enough electricity to power almost 700, 000 households.
6. Topaz Solar Farm, Carrizo Plain of San Luis Obispo County, California
Topaz solar farm is located on the Carrizo Plain of San Luis Obispo County, California, USA, and spread across over 15 square kilometres.
The development of the project began in November 2011 and was completed in February 2015.
The 580 MW capacity solar farm, when operating at full capacity, can produce enough electricity to power nearly 160,000 households.
The production capacity of Topaz farm is enough to reduce almost 407,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to taking 77,000 cars off the road.
The solar modules in the Topaz solar farm are mounted together on panels that are supported by steel columns. The structure holds the modules about 5 feet (1.5 meters) above the ground.
This farm provides many economic benefits, including an estimated revenue of $417 million as property and sales tax for the County, wages from direct/indirect employment, induced spending, and supply chain revenues.
7. Solar Star, Kern, Los Angeles County
Another Solar Star in California, this time from Los Angeles County, is the largest in the country. Also, in June 2015, when the farm was completed, it was the biggest solar farm in the world.
Solar Star has 1.7 million solar panels installed in more than 13 square kilometres in Kern. That is almost the size of 142 football fields or four times the size of Central Park!
The project was underway in two phases of installations — Solar Star 1 and Solar Star 2. The first phase has a capacity of 314MW, and the second one has 265MW.
The total production capacity of the Solar Star farm is 579 MW of energy, which is enough to provide electricity to nearly 255,000 homes.
Building this solar farm created nearly 650 jobs over three years. Also, as reported by “CleanTechnica,” Solar Star, as of now, has created 40 maintenance jobs, including 15 full-time site positions.
The California Energy Commission has provided a few more facts about the Solar Star project:
- The solar panels on the farm are cleaned automatically by using minimal water.
- The solar panels use a single-axis tracker to follow the Sun’s movement all day long. This feature makes the panels nearly 25% more efficient than motionless panels.
- The solar output of this farm is taking 108,000 cars off the road annually.
Solar Star project has completed its fourth anniversary in June 2019, and it is still the largest solar farm in the USA in terms of power output.
8. Ivanpah Solar, Clark Mountain in California
Located in the Mojave Desert at the base of Clark Mountain, California, Ivanpah Solar is a concentrated solar thermal plant. The farm is spread over five square miles.
The capacity of the solar farm is 392 MW, and the total construction cost of the facility was $2.2 billion.
The farm installed 173,500 heliostats, each with two mirrors focusing on solar energy on boilers placed on three centralized solar electricity towers.
The facility was officially inaugurated on February 13, 2014, and in the same year, it earned the coveted title to be the largest solar thermal power station in the world.
The farm has, however, had its share of criticism for allegedly disrupting animal habitats.
The steam generated from the heated water towers spins turbines that produce enough to provide electricity to 140,000 households in California.
9. Ladakh Solar Farm, Ladakh, India (In Progress)
Ladakh in India is a popular hotspot for travellers for its breathtaking natural beauty and picturesque mountains towering over the desolate land. It is located around 200 km to the south in Kargil.
The beautiful Ladakh will soon be adding another feather to its hat for being one of the largest single-location solar photovoltaic plants on the planet.
The solar plant will be saving nearly 12,750 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. It will free the local population from their dependence on diesel gen-sets, along with providing jobs for this isolated place, which remains cut off for 6-8 months.
Promoted by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), the project aims to install facilities that will produce 7,500 MW of solar electricity by 2023.
10. Villanueva Solar Park in Coahuila, Mexico
Villanueva Solar Park is located in the state of Coahuila, Mexico.
This photovoltaic (PV) facility has more than 2.3 million solar panels installed across 2,400 hectares.
Villanueva Solar Park has the capacity to produce more than 1,700 GWh annually once fully operational. The commercial operation at the plant began in March 2018.
The main investor of this project is the Enel Group has contributed nearly $650 million for the construction.
11. Tengger Desert Solar Park in Zhongwei, Ningxia, China
The Tengger Solar Park, located in Zhongwei, Ningxia, China, is one of the largest PV plants in the world, considering both its size and production capacity.
The solar park is called the ‘Great Wall of Solar,’ and covers 1,200 km of the 36,700 km Tengger desert.
Tengger Desert Solar Park produces an impressive 1,500 MW annually.
The completion of the Tengger facility has helped push the installed capacity of China above 176 GW. The country is so far the leader with about 32% of the global solar capacity.
12. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, UAE
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will have a capacity of 1,000 MW by 2020 and 5,000 MW by 2030, which will make it the largest solar power plant in the world.
Once completed, the park is likely to reduce more than 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Apart from having the potential to be the biggest solar park on the planet, the facility will also feature the largest solar tower in the world, to be standing tall over 850 feet and producing 700 MW of clean energy.
The site will also have a Research & Development Center, an Innovation Center, testing facilities, and a solar-powered water desalination plant.
13. Agua Caliente Solar Project, Arizona
The Agua Caliente Solar Project is located in Yuma County, Arizona, and it has a capacity of 290 MW.
The 2,400-acre facility can generate enough electricity to power 230,000 homes at peak loads, and also reduces 5.5 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
This solar farm has been constructed on an earlier distributed agricultural land, 65 miles on the White Wing Ranch.
The project needed only minimal new infrastructure due to its strategic location. The project was completed in April 2014.
The first phase of the project with a capacity of 39 MW went live in December 2011, followed by 100 MW capacity in April 2012, 200 MW in July 2012, and finally 247 MW in August 2012.
When the Agua Caliente farm went live, it became the largest solar farm in the world. Also, the project won the ‘Project of the Year’ by Excellence in Renewable Energy Award in February 2012.
14. Benban Solar Park, Egypt
Egypt has joined the energy race with its $2.8 billion solar park. Located in the south of Cairo in the Nubian Desert, this 235-acre solar power plant is estimated to produce 1.8 GW of electricity.
The new solar farm has nearly 200,000 photovoltaic panels installed that follow the path of the Sun for higher efficiency.
The project aims to help Egypt meet its goal of 20% renewable energy by 2022.
To construct the park, the government selected the Nubian Desert that receives high solar radiation and divided the site into 41 plots of various sizes.
Once the construction is completed before India or UAE, it will be the largest solar farm in the world.
15. Sungrow Floating Solar Farm, Huainan, China
The Sungrow Huainan Solar Farm in China was once touted as the largest floating solar array in the world.
Located 5 km southwest of Nihe Town in China’s Anhui province, the solar farm floats on an artificial lake and has a capacity of 40 MW.
The solar farm is spread across 800,000 square meters, which is the size equal to 110 football fields.
Sungrow Solar Farm has 166,000 panels installed and was constructed by Sungrow Power Supply.
The solar farm is capable of producing energy that is sufficient to power 15,000 homes.
16. The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, Nevada
The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project is one of the largest concentrating solar power (CSP) farms that is built near Tonopah in Nye County, Nevada, USA.
The farm covers more than 1,600 acres of public land and has been designed to last 30 years.
Crescent Dunes has a capacity of 110 MW and is the first utility-scale solar power plant in the US. It is also the largest solar power facility in the world with storage. The cost of the project was $1 billion.
The work on the project began in August 2011 with moderate construction activities. The construction was completed in 2015.
In February 2012, the project achieved a major milestone when the deployment of the central receiver solar power tower was completed. The 540 ft-tall tower is the tallest solar power tower on the planet.
The plant can produce nearly half a million megawatt-hours of emission-free electricity annually and can provide power to almost 75,000 homes.
The produced solar electricity through this project will also eliminate 290,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
17. Bhadla Solar Park, Rajasthan, India
Bhadla solar park is located in an area spreading more than 10,000 acres (45 sq. km.) in Jodhpur district in Rajasthan, India.
Rajasthan receives the highest solar irradiation of 5.72kWh/m²/day, which is ideal for developing a solar park.
When put in for the auction, the park received one of the lowest bids for a tariff of Rs 2.44 per kWh, which is the lowest for solar in India so far.
Once all the phases of the project are completed, the site will be able to generate 2.25 GW of electricity. It is expected to become operational by December 2019.
The solar park has already more than a million solar panels installed. However, only around 15% of the total park’s capacity is currently operational.
18. Nzema Solar Park, Ghana (In-Progress)
Nzema Solar Park in Ghana has a capacity of 155 MW, and it is the largest solar power station on the African continent.
The facility is the second operational large-scale solar park in the country, which was initiated by a local independent power producer, Meinergy Ghana Ltd., installing 64,400 solar panels and 400 inverters.
In the future, the solar park will be using a total of 630,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, which will produce direct current (DC) electricity.
Using inverters, the DC will be converted to alternating current (AC), which will be fed into the national electricity grid to power approximately 100,000 homes. Once completed, the project will increase Ghana’s national electricity production capacity by 6%.
19. Jasper PV Project, South Africa
The Jasper solar power project is located in Northern Cape Province in South Africa and is the largest solar power plant in Africa.
The construction of this 96 MW capacity project began in October 2013, was completed in October 2014.
The project is fully operational to produce clean, renewable energy annually and can power nearly 80,000 homes.
The PV power plant was built by a consortium of the Kensani Group, SolarReserve, and Intikon Energy, and has an operational life of more than 25 years.
The plant will reduce 145,891t of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere every year.
The Way Forward
During the last decade, countries all over the world began undertaking massive solar farms to become energy-efficient. In June 2010, the number of major solar projects in the world was only 34. Today, there are hundreds.
It is exciting to see that these nations are taking action, keeping an eye on the future, and producing clean energy.
One of the flip sides of building solar farms is, however, that they need plenty of space, and the cost of constructing such massive facilities is quite high.
The benefits of solar farms, however, outweigh the mentioned drawbacks as they are capable of producing solar electricity at a large-scale. These projects are also perfect for displacing carbon footprint and creating a significant number of jobs.
Since the early days, Sumit has been deeply concerning for the climate crisis and always felt hurt seeing how the human intervention is disrupting the ecological balance. He 100% believes that solar energy is the missing puzzle to our energy transition, and we have to go all out to implement this energy solution all over the world.