While solar panels continue to pop up around the country and you begin to see more on your neighbors’ roofs, it’s easy to forget that commercial solar farms are a popular source of solar energy as well. As the world turns to more renewable sources of energy in an effort to reduce greenhouse gasses, solar farms are becoming increasingly bigger and in some cases more creative. Take a look to see how companies are changing the expectation for solar farms.
Huainan, China is home to Sungrow Solar Farm, the world’s largest floating solar photovoltaic (PV) farm, which has 160,000 solar panels and spans over 800,000 square meters. The solar farm is located on a former coal-mining area and was built in collaboration with Ciel & Terre, a French floating solar specialist. While this farm is a neat concept, it doesn’t produce a substantial amount of megawatts in comparison to other solar farms. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t have advantages, however! For instance, the water surrounding the solar panels prevents them from overheating and therefore improving efficiency.
Waianae, Oahu, Hawaii, USA
Developed on 200 acres in West Oahu, the Waianae Solar Project is the biggest solar farm in Hawaii. It began operating in 2017 and has the potential to power over 4,000 homes, leading the initiative to help Hawaii reach 100 percent electricity production from renewable energy by the year 2045. This will be a major win for Hawaii’s environment, as well as help the state save money on oil imports.
Oxford, Massachusetts, USA
Beautifully nestled among the trees and spread over 130-acres, the Barrett Street solar project is one of the largest solar farms in New England. The 16.5 MW system consists of nine solar PV panel arrays, providing clean and renewable energy to nearby schools, businesses, and homes. The Fay School is an example of the local community utilizing this solar farm, as they have contracted over 50 percent of the total output to help them reach their goal of lowering electricity costs and becoming more sustainable.
Clark County, Nevada, USA
Recently approved by the Trump Administration for $1B, the Gemini project, comprising 690MW of solar PV panel installations and a 380MW battery storage facility, is expected to be the largest solar farm project in the United States. It is planned to be built outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, and will be built on 7,100 acres of federally-owned land in Clark County. Reports state that the project is expected to begin in the later-half of 2020, going all the way through 2023, and will create nearly 2,000 jobs.
Disney World, Orlando, Florida, USA
We can’t conclude our list without mentioning the solar farms created by the happiest place on earth. In an effort to reduce greenhouse gasses, with a goal of a 50% reduction by 2020, Disney World has built two solar farms, with their most recent one containing 500,000 PV panels which can reduce emissions equal to removing roughly 10,00 cars from the road. It should also be mentioned that their solar farm has the potential to be able to power two of their four theme parks in Orlando, Florida.
Although they don’t always take the spotlight when it comes to discussing solar energy, commercial solar farms contribute a significant amount to our power grids and it’s important to keep them in the conversation of solar energy. We’re impressed by the solar farms discussed in this roundup in particular, from how big they are to the impacts they have on their surroundings, but we’re also excited to see the future of solar farms. Which one is your favorite?
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