The world’s largest photovoltaic power plant is online and turning sunlight into energy at the Topaz Solar Farm in Southern California’s Carrizo Plain. There are 9 million solar modules at the plant, covering an area of 9.5 square miles and generating 550 megawatts.
The Carizzo Plain makes an ideal location for solar power generation, as it gets 315 days of sunshine each year and is adjacent to an existing transmission line. The plant, operated by BHE Renewable, produces enough energy to power 180,000 homes. There’s a 25-year power purchase agreement in place with PG&E for the energy. First Solar’s cadmium-telluride thin-film panels are the energy source.
Another massive 550-megawatt plant, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, is near completion in Southern California. These utility-scale solar plants are intended to dominate the solar market. In 2013, large-scale arrays overtook rooftop solar panels.