The world’s largest solar project, First Solar’s Agua Caliente photovoltaic installation under construction in Arizona, has reported a peak generating capacity of 250 MW as the US market goes from strength to strength.
When it is completed in 2014 and connected to the grid, the facility, which is owned by NRG Energy and MidAmerican Solar, will have a total generating capacity of 290 MW.
Construction on the project started in autumn 2010 and the first solar photovoltaic modules were installed in summer 2011 with commercial operation beginning in January this year.
Initially, 30 MW of clean electricity was generated for the grid, reaching 100 MW in the spring and topping over 200 MW over the summer.
“The Agua Caliente project exemplifies how utility-grade solar PV power can be rapidly deployed in a phased approach and seamlessly integrated into the electrical grid,” says Jim Tyler of First Solar.
Overall, the US has seen the completion of more than 20 large solar projects representing 477 MW in the second quarter of this year.
According to research from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the US has seen its second best quarter in history, with total installations reaching 742 MW.
The report out yesterday, US Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2012, the market looks set to stay strong through the rest of the year with some 3400 MW of utility photovoltaic projects under construction.
With prices down as estimated 10% on the previous quarter, GTM Research is predicting an additional 1.1 GW of utility-scale photovoltaic power to go into operation by the end of the year.
The predictions, if accurate, would mean 3.2 GW of newly installed photovoltaic capacity by the end of 2012, up over 70% on 2011.
“The US solar industry is rapidly growing and creating jobs across America despite the slow economic recovery,” comments Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Smart, consistent, long-term policy is driving the innovation and investment that’s making solar a larger share of our overall energy mix.”
For further information:
New York governor earmarks $107 million for solar power projects (17-Aug)
Obama fast-tracks seven US clean energy projects (13-Aug)
US military to deploy army of renewable energy projects (8-Aug)
Hertz and IKEA move ahead with solar installations (10-Jul)
11 September 2012