7 Biggest Solar Farms In The USA
With Americans switching to solar energy more and more, there has been a need for large-scale solar operations called solar farms to satisfy that demand. This demand is due to the mechanization of every task in the modern world.
There are currently over 2,500 solar farms present in the United States with the majority of these facilities located in California and Texas.
However, in this article, we’ll be discussing the top 7 biggest solar farms in the USA in terms of capacity. They include;
Location: Imperial County, California
Output: 794 Mega watts.
Solar panels: 3,000,000
Servicing: 280,000 Households
The Mount Signal Solar Project is the 2nd biggest solar farm in the United States. The solar farm is a commercial photovoltaic solar farm which is located in imperial county, California in the USA. The Mount Signal Solar Project is also known as the Imperial Valley Solar 1
The solar farm was constructed in three phases with phase one completed in 2014, phase two in 2018, and phase three in 2020. Completion of the third phase pushed the solar farm from 10th place to 2nd place among the biggest solar farms in the United States with a capacity of 794 megawatts.
The Mount Signal Solar Project is situated on more than 8.01km2 of land with over 3 million solar modules that track sunlight for maximum exposure. This solar farm produces enough output for 280,000 residences.
The solar farm is one of the biggest solar farms in the United States and was a welcome project creating over 600 jobs during its construction and maintenance afterward.
#6. Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, Lancaster, California
Location: Imperial County, California
Output: 266 Mega watts
Solar panels: 3,500,000
Servicing: 75,000 households
The Antelope Valley Solar Ranch is the seventh biggest solar farm in the United States. The solar farm is located near Lancaster California and has a capacity of 266 megawatts.
The solar farm completed its construction in 2013 with a capacity of 100 megawatts. The Antelope Valley Solar Ranch project cost over $1.36 billion in investments. With over 3.5 million solar panels on the solar farm, the capacity has grown to 266 megawatts which is enough to power over 75,000 residences in California.
The solar farm created over 500 jobs during its construction and in maintenance afterward which was a boost to the state’s economy. The solar farm was built to reduce California’s dependence on fossil fuels and reduce pollution and climate change effects.
#5. Solar Star (1 & 2)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Output: 747 Mega watts
Solar panels: 1,500,000
Servicing: 250,000 households
The solar star solar farm is the third biggest solar farm in the United States. When the solar farm’s construction was completed in 2015, it was the biggest solar farm in the United States but in recent years others have overtaken the top position.
The solar star solar farm is still one of the biggest solar farms in the United States and is spread over 13km2 with over 1.5 million solar panels with sunlight tracking installed. This produces an output of 747 megawatts which can power over 250,000 residences in California.
The farm has two parts, solar star 1 and solar star 2 and they are spread over Kern and Los Angeles in the state of California. They both produce enough output to power a large residential area. The construction of the solar star solar farm was a welcome project creating over 700 jobs during construction and in maintenance afterward.
The Solar Star took damaged land and created something useful as the solar farm is a very efficient way of producing energy without polluting the earth. The solar star solar farm is also one of the most efficient solar farms in terms of land area and technology.
#4. Copper Mountain Solar Facility
Location: Boulder City, Nevada
Output: 802 Mega Watts
Solar panels: 4,300,000
Servicing: 300,000 Households
The Copper Mountain Solar Facility is the largest solar farm in the United States. Construction of this solar farm began in 2010 and was completed by 2011 and commissioned by the Nevada governor. The biggest solar farm in the United States is located in Boulder City, Nevada.
The Copper Mountain Solar Facility began on a small scale only producing 8 megawatts upon completion. However, over the years, more and more solar panels were constructed and this has led to a substantial increase from 8 megawatts in 2010 to 802 megawatts in 2022.
The Copper Mountain Solar Facility which has 4.3 million solar panels installed costs an estimated total of $1.5 billion in construction and installation fees. Although the project was costly, it is estimated to produce over $350 million in revenue for the Nevada government.
The solar farm also produces enough output to power more than 300,000 households.
The Copper Mountain Solar Facility is the largest solar farm in the United States in terms of capacity and was a welcome project in Nevada with the creation of over 400 jobs during its construction and maintenance afterward. The solar farm is also one of the best solar farms in the USA and was named the ‘Solar Project of the Year’ by Renewable Energy World.
#3. Agua Caliente Solar Project
Location: Yuma, Arizona
Output: 290 Mega watts
Solar panels: 5,000,000
Servicing: 100,000 households
The Agua Caliente Solar Project is the sixth-biggest solar farm in the United States. This solar farm began construction in 2011 and by 2012 it was ranked as the biggest solar farm in the world with a capacity of 290 megawatts. Also that same year, the Agua Caliente Solar Project was the ‘Project of the Year by Excellence in Renewable Energy Award.
However, In 2014, it was displaced by the Topaz solar farm but the Agua Caliente Solar Project has remained one of the biggest solar farms in the United States. The solar farm is located in the White Wing Ranch in Yuma county, Arizona, and is owned by NRG Energy. The location of the solar farm was formerly agricultural land but during the survey was found to have maximum sunlight exposure.
The solar farm cost over $2 billion and has more than 5 million solar modules provided by the original contractors, first solar. The solar farm is spread over 9.7km2 of land and produces an output of 290 megawatts which is enough to power over 100,000 residences in Arizona.
The Agua Caliente Solar Project was built to reduce the carbon footprint in Arizona by providing alternative energy options to residents.
#2. Desert Sunlight Solar Farm
Location: Desert Center, California
Output: 550 Megawatts
Solar panels: 8,000,000
Servicing: 160,000 households
The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is the fifth biggest solar farm in the United States. The solar farm began construction in 2011 and by 2015, phases 1 and 2 were completed. The solar farm which is located at the desert center in California is spread over 16km2 of land and produces an output of 550 megawatts.
The solar farm which is owned by United States private energy companies like NextEra Energy Resources, Sumitomo corporations America and many others began construction in 2011. During construction over 500 jobs were created and more in maintenance afterward.
The solar farm is one of the biggest solar farms in the United States with over 8 million solar modules. The solar farm has enough output to power more than 160,000 residences in California and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. This was the aim as the desert sunlight solar farm was constructed to provide a self-sufficient and renewable energy option for Californians.
#1. Topaz Solar Farm
Location: San Luis, California
Output: 580 Mega watts
Solar panels: 9,000,000
Servicing: 180,000 households
The Topaz solar farm is the fourth biggest solar farm in the United States. The solar farm which is located on the Carrizo plains in San Luis, California is one of the biggest solar farms in the United States.
Construction of the Topaz solar farm began in 2011 and was completed in 2015, although it began functioning in 2014. On opening in 2014, the Topaz solar farm was the biggest in the world with a capacity of 550 megawatts. However, it has long since been displaced.
The solar farm occupies a land area of 15 km2 and has increased its output from 550 megawatts to 580 megawatts which is enough to power over 180,000 residents in California. The solar farm was built to reduce the pollution caused by fossil fuels by providing alternative forms of energy.
The Topaz solar farm has also been beneficial to California as it is projected to bring in $417 million through direct and indirect means.
Other major solar farms in the USA include;
- Mesquite Solar project, Arizona;
The Mesquite Solar project is one of the biggest solar farms in the United States. Located in Arizona, the solar farm has a capacity of 207 megawatts. The solar farm is estimated to produce 700 megawatts upon completion.
- Tehran Solar Project
The Tehran Solar Project is one of the biggest solar farms in the United States. The solar farm has a capacity of 200 megawatts with plans to grow to 400 megawatts upon completion.
- Prospero Solar Park
The Prospero Solar Park is one of the biggest solar farms in the United States. Located in Texas, the solar farm has a capacity of 200 megawatts with an estimated 370 megawatts with further developments.
Benefits of solar farms to the USA
There are multiple benefits of solar farms to the United States. Here are a few benefits;
- Economic benefits: solar farms have economic benefits to the area they are located in. This includes job opportunities, revenue for land sales or leases, taxes, etc.
- Environmental benefits; solar farms have multiple environmental benefits including a reduction in pollution (noise pollution, air pollution, etc), a reduction in greenhouse emissions, a reduction of carbon footprint, etc.
- Damaged farmlands or dry lands e.g deserts can be used to construct solar farms thereby making use of all our resources efficiently.
Top 10 US states that use the most solar energy
Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy is one of the goals of the United States. However, some states are getting there faster than others. Here are the top states that use solar energy.
- California uses 30.9% of the US solar output.
- Texas uses 13.4% of the US solar output.
- Florida uses 6.2% of the US solar output.
- North Carolina uses 5.5% of the US solar output.
- Arizona uses 4.8% of the US solar output.
- Nevada uses 4.8% of the US solar output.
- New York uses 2.7% of the US solar output.
- Virginia uses 2.5% of the US solar output.
- Massachusetts uses 2.4% of the US solar output.
- New Jersey uses 2.4% of the US solar output.
The solar farm is an answer to the climate change and pollution caused by fossil fuels. Solar farms produce solar energy on a commercial large-scale and supply thousands of residences with electricity.
Because solar farms have no greenhouse emissions they do not pollute the environment and the sunlight is renewable. The solar farm does have some disadvantages.
They require large areas of land and upfront funding to be constructed and the maintenance is costly. Collecting solar energy at such high rates can cause technical issues which can lead to inefficiency and waste of energy.
However, with constant improvements in technology, these problems are being tackled and more solar farms are popping up in various parts of the United States and the world.
Author: Ben McInerney is a renewable energy enthusiast with the goal of helping more Australians understand solar systems to make the best choice before they purchase. Having an accredited solar installer in the family helps give Ben access to the correct information, which allows him to break it down and make it easily understandable to the average homeowner.