The rapid growth of Very Large Scale Solar PV Power plants




In December 2010 I wrote a blog in which I trumpeted the achievement of LCOE of €0,15/kWh for a large (French) PV power plant. Today, in India the $0,10/kWh mark is already reached.

In 1995, a revolutionary 3.3 megawatt ground-based solar PV power plant was connected to the grid in Serre, Italy. Only in 2004 a 5 MW plant, at that moment the world’s largest, was built in Germany. In 2007 the Spanish solar gold rush lead to projects in size over 10 MW. In 2008, 4 power plants above 40 MW were built and one 60 MW in Olmedilla, Spain.

The number of large power plants (>1 MW) grew fast to hundreds in Spain and Germany. The 80 MW mark was reached in 2010 and today the largest project in the world is the Agua Caliente project of 250 MW, planned to be built out to 397 MW soon. It won’t even be the largest PV plant in the country where everything is bigger... The new Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is a 550 MW solar power plant under construction in Riverside County, California.

Several countries have +100 MW plants nowadays, from Ukraine to China, India to the USA. Soon more countries will follow, from Chile to South Africa. Apparently, building these larger power plants makes sense, is not that difficult and provides an added value rather for the grid, rather than posing a problem.

From the 550 Megawatt in the USA, I am curious to see the first 1.000 MW power plant initiative. The LCOE will drop further towards the incomparable costs of electricity from polluting gas or coal. Very Large Scale Solar PV power plants will become competitive with any fossil fueled power plant. And these plants can be realized more than 5 times as fast as a coal powered plant, providing 100% cleaner energy.

If you want to learn more about developing large scale power plants, join us on our tour to the worlds largest PV power plants in the USA in October.

See the top 10 of the worlds' currently largest PV Power Plants here: 

More information on the Very Large Solar Power Plants Tour can be found here: