Solar market heats up: Survey of PV/CSP installations and utility projects

The US and Canada are waking up to the prospects of solar power generation. Prices for solar PV have fallen and utilities are increasingly developing projects that use the sun to generate electricity. Solar power, once seemingly confined to the desert Southwest, is making inroads from Florida to New Jersey, Colorado to Nevada. Lindsay Morris, associate editor, Power Engineering, reprinted from RenewableEnergyWorld.com.

By Lindsay Morris, associate editor, Power Engineering, reprinted from RenewableEnergyWorld.com.

Ron Kenedi, VP of Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group, said “the whole country is waking up to the idea of solar.” Take Florida Power & Light’s (FP&L’s) 25 MW DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, FL. The plant is now one of the largest PV installations in North America, having overtaken NV Energy’s 17 MW facility at Nellis Air Force Base in NV. The DeSoto Center uses more than 90,500 crystalline-silicon PV panels mounted on tracking systems and is capable of generating about 42,000 MWh annually.

Then there’s the 21 MW Blythe power plant in Riverside County, CA. First Solar developed and built the plant. Electricity generated by the facility is being sold to Southern California Edison (SCE) under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The Blythe plant is one of the largest thin film PV projects in the U.S.

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