Image credit: NSP
It wasn't that long ago that solar plants competing for the "World's largest" title were talking in the range of about 5MW, then 10 or 15. But as the 100MW solar farms going up in France, and the massive expansion of plans for a San Antonio solar plant from 50MW to 400 show, the scale of what's impressive has changed somewhat. Now another company is vying for the title of world's largest solar photovoltaic power plant, and they have communities from across the US competing with each other for the right to host it. National Solar Power (NSP), a utility-scale solar developer, has named seven communities in the Southeast of the US as finalists in a competition to host the world's largest solar PV farm. The project, which is slated to cost $1.4 billion, is gunning for 400MW which, it says, will make it the largest of its kind in the world (the current record holder is an 80MW solar plant in Ontario). Of course 400MW puts it almost exactly in the same ballpark as the San Antonio plans, so who gets to hold the record will presumably depend on how fast these things get built.
For its part, NSP says it is making its decision based on access to adequate and appropriate land; community and political support; availability of economic development and tax incentives, and an appropriately skilled workforce. Communities still in the running include Gadsden, Hardee, Osceola and Suwannee counties in Florida; Sumter and Tatnall counties in Georgia, and Guilford County in North Carolina.
I guess it will be interesting to see how long it takes before 400MW starts feeling small too...
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