Solar Farms or Giant Solar Power Projects consisting of thousand of solar panels installed on acres of land are increasing rapidly in the USA.While the European governments are discouraging the use of large installations of solar panels,the US is going the opposite way in installing these power plants.The US government recently approved of a number of Solar Thermal Power Projects worth several gigawatt recently.
List of 10 Largest Photovoltaic Solar Farms in the World (in MW)
|Montalto di Castro||Italy||84|
|Finsterwalde Solar Park||Germany||81|
|Rovigo Photovoltaic Park||Italy||70|
|Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park||Spain||60|
|Strasskirchen Solar Park||Germany||54|
|Lieberose Photovoltaic Park||Germany||53|
|Puertollano Photovoltaic Park||Spain||50|
|Moura Photovoltaic Park||Portugal||46|
5 Largest Proposed PV Solar Farms
|Ordos Solar Project||China||2000||Thin film CdTe from First Solar completion date 2019|
|Topaz Solar Farm||USA||550||Thin film CdTe from First Solar|
|Desert Stateline||USA||300||Scheduled to be completed in 2015|
|Desert Sunlight||USA||300||Scheduled to be completed in 2015|
|Aqua Caliente||USA||290||Scheduled to be completed in 2014|
Source : Wikipedia
Advantages of Solar Farms over Rooftop Solar Installations
1) Lower Cost and Scale – The greater scale of these plants allows lower installations compared to smaller installations. The costs are reduced in permitting, maintenance as well
2) Use of Disturbed Land – Solar Farms can be built on disturbed land like in Germany where they have been built on former airbases.
3) Utility Friendly – Large Solar Farms are controlled by utilities or IPPs while rooftop solar is generally in the ownership of residential owners or commercial owners. This results in less pushback from utilities which generally control transmission and allow easier acceptance of solar energy.
Disadvantages of Solar Farms over Rooftop Solar Installations
1) Long Delays in Permitting, Environment Clearance, Land Siting – Large Solar Farms have to go through a myriad of regulations and clearances. There have also been instances of lawsuits against solar thermal and solar PV plants in California by wildlife and environmental groups as well as local Indian tribes.
2) Electricity Transmission Costs – Grid Connection leads to additional costs for solar farms while rooftop solar can use existing transmission infrastructure.
3) Less Grid Stability – A Large Part of Distributed Solar is consumed locally while Farms supply 100% to the grid. That makes managing the grid difficult when solar penetration increases.
Distributed Solar Energy will become more and more important as the costs of solar energy decline.Governments around the world are also coming around the view to promote solar energy while utilities favor large scale solar farms.With increasing penetration of solar energy the whole raison d’etre of utilities become non-existent so they favor solar farms.On the other hand rooftop solar makes energy more democratic and also ultimately reduces transmission costs as well.However in the near future,both solar farms and rooftop solar should coexist.
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