California is the US state most likely to be immediately associated with the sun. And suitably to that notion, solar power is booming in California. This comes as no surprise: Since the state has constant sun exposure all year round, it is the perfect location for building large-scale solar projects. The following three projects are the currently largest solar projects in California, as of June 2023.
1) Solar Star in Kern and LA counties
Solar Star is California‘s largest currently operational solar farm: It has the capacity to generate 579MW. This is enough to supply 255,000 households with energy. It comprises more than 1.7 million solar panels. At the time the solar farm was set up in June 2015, it was the world‘s biggest solar farm when it comes to installed capacity. The huge farm is spread out over more than 13 square kilometres in Kern and Los Angeles Counties. To illustrate, this means the farm takes up 4 times as much space as Central Park in New York.
Location: Rosamond, California
Investor: BHE Solar
2) Topaz solar farm in San Luis Obispo County
Thanks to its capacity of 550MW, the Topaz Solar farm is also ranked as one of the world‘s largest solar farms. It is located in San Luis Obispo County in California. Construction of the farm started in 2011 and it became operational in 2014. At its total operational capacity, the wind park produces enough electricity to cover the consumption of over 181,000 homes.
Location: San Luis Obispo County, California
Developer: First Solar
Investor: Pacific Gas and Electric
3) Large solar-plus-storage project in development
Located in Kern County, the 2GW solar-plus-storage project consists of two phases which each include 500 MW of solar and 500 MW of energy storage. This adds this project up to a solar capacity of 1GW.
Phase 1 of the project is expected to become operational in 2025 and phase 2 in 2026. US power corporation AES purchased the large development project from the project developer Avantus.
Location: Kern County, California
Investor: AES Corp
Image source: Benoît Deschasaux via Unsplash (29.06.2023)