Written by Robert Cathcart, Renewable Energy Researcher – in association with Renewable Energy Institute and Solar Fast
Solar energy is already playing a major part in the energy production mix for many countries. This is especially true for those with exposure to high levels of solar radiation. So, it is no surprise to find that there are already some impressive solar farms across the globe and some exciting new projects in the pipeline.
In this article, we explore some of the most impressive solar projects from around the world.
Bhadla Solar Park, India
Although this list isn’t ordered by size, we are kicking off with the world’s biggest solar farm.
Bhadla solar farm tops the list both in terms of size and capacity. This massive solar farm covers an area spanning 5,783ha in Bhadla village, located in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It also has a huge energy-producing capacity of 2.25GW.
India is an ideal location for solar power generation due to ample space for construction and high levels of solar radiation. So, it is hardly surprising that the country is home to the most impressive solar project in the world.
With the first phases of this behemoth project starting back in 2015, the total estimated investment in the Bhadla Solar Park is expected to hit Rs98.5bn ($1.4bn).
Noor Abu Dhabi, UAE
Noor Abu Dhabi is an impressive solar farm and one of the world’s largest single-site solar energy generation locations. The site has a huge capacity of 1.2GW which is generated from 3.2 million solar panels that span across 8km2 of land in Sweihan, Abu Dhabi.
The farm was commissioned to help reduce the area’s reliance on natural gas for electricity production. Helping to limit environmental harm and reduce the area’s carbon footprint. The farm also boasts a number of awards including the Power Generation Project of the Year Award at MEED Projects Awards 2020 and the Utility Project of the Year Award at the 2020 Middle East Solar Awards.
Kamuthi Solar Power Project, India
The Kamuthi Solar Power Project site was commissioned by the Adani Group with an investment of around INR 45.5 billion ($555 million).
This huge solar farm spans a vast area of 2,500 acres in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It has a capacity of 648MW and homes 2.5 million polycrystalline solar panels, 30,000 tonnes of structure, 6000 km of cables, 380,000 foundations and 154 central inverters.
Solar Star, USA
At its commission (2015), Solar Star was the world’s largest solar farm. The farm is located across two photovoltaic (PV) solar installations outside Rosamond, California. With 1.72 million solar panels spread across approximately 3,200 acres of privately owned land, Solar Star has an impressive 579MW capacity.
Originally undertaken by SunPower Corporation, the projects were bought out by BHE Renewables (a subsidiary of Hathaway Energy) in 2012. Although SunPower remained a contractor for engineering, procurement and construction purposes.
Benban Solar Park, Egypt
Currently, the largest solar park in Africa, Benban Solar Park has an impressive capacity of 1.8GW. The park is comprised of 41 solar power plants located across 37 km2 in Benban, Egypt.
Benban Solar Park was announced as part of Egypt’s Nubian Suns Renewable Feed-in Tariff (FiT) programme. This programme was developed as part of the Egyptian government’s goal to produce 20% of electricity from renewable sources by 2022.
State-owned organisation New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) oversaw the object which is predicted to cost $4bn.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, UAE
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is a huge project and one of the largest solar energy production locations on the globe. The site is planned to have a capacity of 5,000MW by 2030 and is predicted to take some AED 50 billion ($13 billion USD) of investment to finish.
The goal of the site is to reduce dependence on fossil fuel energy generation. When complete, it is expected to save over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions on an annual basis.
Already a well-established site, this impressive solar farm plays a major role in DEWA winning the Best Sustainable Project of the Year in the UAE at the 2014 MEED Quality Awards. An impressive accolade given that this is the first time that a renewable energy project in MENA has won it.
Santiago do Cacém, Portugal
Although many European solar projects are comparatively small to others on this list, this doesn’t mean they are any less impressive and worthy of a spot in this article.
One interesting and impressive project which is currently underway in Europe is Santiago do Cacém in Portugal. The project is expected to launch this year (2023) with a goal of entering into commercial production by 2025.
A ground-mounted solar project relying on PV panels for energy production, it is expected to cost $1,470 million and reach a capacity of 1,140 MW.
Villanueva de los Escuderos Solar PV Park, Spain
Another noteworthy, European-located solar park is Villanueva de los Escuderos Solar PV Park in Castile-La Mancha, Spain. Similar to Santiago do Cacém, this project is expected to get underway in 2023. However, it is predicted to enter commercial operation as early as next year (2024).
The site is currently 100% owned by Dhamma Energy. It is expected to cost $34.75 million of investment to finish and will have a capacity of 50MW.
Foresight Solar Fund, Shotwick, UK
The UK is also home to a number of smaller, yet impressive solar farms. Currently, the largest of which is located in Shotwick, North Wales. The farm is owned by Foresight Solar Fund and is located across approximately 220 acres of land.
With a capacity of 72.2MWp, the site is predicted to help avoid 15,991 tonnes of carbon emissions and serve 18,000 households each year.
World Leading Solar Projects: Summary
It is clear that there are several exciting and impressive solar farms around the world. Many of these are already in operation, with others currently in the pipeline. As we see a global shift towards renewable sources of energy we are likely to continue seeing larger-scale solar farms popping up around the globe.
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