As the renewable energy industry continues to develop, larger installations are being commissioned and constructed across the world. As the technology grows, the installations become more profitable and more viable, and hence have grown in size.
Currently the Worlds largest solar PV installation is Canada’s Sarnia Photovoltaic power plant, with a huge capacity of 91 MWp, consisting of 1.3 million thin film panels and covering 950 acres. It is also one of the most profitable solar schemes in the world, due to Canadas strong feed in tariff.
The largest planned/under construction solar PV farm stands at 2,000 MW, being developed in China’s Inner Mongolia region. Once completed it will be more than 20 times the size of the current largest PV farm.
Off shore Wind
Just over a decade ago, the largest offshore with farm was the beautiful and iconic Middelgrunden. This curved installation supplied 4% of Copenhagens power and presented a new concept of wind generation. With a capacity of only 40 MW, is it now dwarfed by newer installations, highlighting the scale of advancement in the industry.
One such larger wind farm is the Horns Rev II installation, which remained the largest in the world until September 2010. This square farm had a capacity of 209 megawatts and consisted of 91 turbines. At present, the largest offshore wind farm is the UK’s own Thanet installation, with a capacity of 300mw, consisting of 100 turbines. This installation has planned extensions, which will look to increase its capacity further.
Currently the largest site under construction, again based off the south eastern coast of the UK is the London Array, which is planned for completion in 2012, and will have an installed capacity of 630MW, consisting of 175 turbines.
On Shore Wind
On shore wind is one of the most established renewable technologies, with the USA leading the way in large scale farms. The Worlds largest installation is currently the Roscoe wind farm, with a capacity of 781 MW.
The largest planned on shore wind farm is based in Chinas Gansu Province, and with an estimated cost of £17 billion, will eventually reach 20,000 MW capacity in 2020. If this installation were to be completed in the UK, it would provide nearly a fifth of the UK’s energy.