Largest Solar Farms in the World: How Does Yours Measure Up?

Topic: solar projects Read Time: 9 mins
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Are you looking for a list of the largest solar farms in the world? How might a project on your land (or country) measure up? Read ahead for the ultimate list of large solar farms across the globe that may shock you.

It’s no secret that solar energy is seeing a slow (but steady) boost worldwide. It’s said that up to 25% of global energy could come from solar production by 2050, and that’s a massive increase from the 4.5% we see today.

To us, this comes as no surprise. Not only is solar energy affordable, but solar farms are generally constructed quickly and require little maintenance during their lifetime. So, they’re definitely appealing projects for landowners and commercial energy companies. But exactly how BIG can these projects get? Well, the answer is “HUGE”. If you’re interested in the sheer scale of these projects, stick with us as we run through the largest solar farms in the world. Who knows, it might just inspire you to start your own.

Based on size, a standard solar farm in the UK is anywhere between 1 and 100 acres. If there’s a solar farm that stretches above the 5 MW capacity mark, it’s seen as relatively large. So, anything above this level is undoubtedly a sizable solar farm – especially if we’re getting into the gigawatt range.

If you’re interested in the largest solar farms in the world, check out these enormous sites.  We’ll be working from largest to smallest on this list, and none of the entries below offer less than a 1 GW capacity.

Google Maps view of Golmud Solar Park in China

Size: 640 acres
Capacity: 2.8GW

If you’re looking for the largest solar farms in the world, you can’t overlook Golmud Solar Park. Built in 2011 and completed in 2019, this PV-powered plant spans 640 acres. It boasts an enormous capacity of 2.8GW but is looking to expand to a mind-blowing 16GW capacity further down the line. The solar park comprises 70 different solar plants on the same property, offering enough energy to power over 1 million houses. Although it’s currently the largest solar farm in the world, there’s no telling whether it’ll be beaten for capacity in coming years.

a comparison infographic showing UK's solar versus world's largest park
Aerial view of Bhadla Solar Park in India

Size: 14,000 acres
Capacity: 2.7GW

Tucked away in the Desert of Rajasthan, Bhadla Solar Park spans 14,000 acres and has a capacity of 2.7GW. This project is being developed in four phases, with a total investment fund of $1.4 billion. The second phase was completed in 2019, and the other phases are set to be completed within the next few years. Its current capacity is enough to power over 4.5 million Indian households, making it a significant step towards net-zero efforts. If that wasn’t appealing enough, the park benefits from stellar conditions. Benefitting from over 300 sunny days a year and an average solar irradiation of 5.72kWh/m2, it’s a slam-dunk of a solar project.

Google Earth view of the Pavagada Solar Park in India

Size: 13,000 acres
Capacity: 2GW

Pavagada Solar Park is another one of the largest solar farms in the world, offering an impressive capacity of 2GW. Found in the Tumkur District of Karnataka, it’s India’s second-largest solar farm that cost a whopping $2.1 billion to build. Although it’s not currently the biggest solar farm in the world, it’s expected to expand its capacity by 3GW over time. This could allow it to overtake Golmud in a few short years. However, there is a downside to this particular solar farm. Because of its sheer size, it’s become a mammoth task just to keep dust off the panels. So, this has caused a strain on an already over-tapped groundwater supply.

Local farmers are responsible for cleaning over 400,000 panels at this solar park. And as over 2 litres of water is needed to clean each panel, the water use is massive (especially considering the project is meant to be environmentally friendly).

Google Earth view of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in UAE

Size: 19,027 acres
Capacity: 1.63GW

If we’re looking at the largest solar farms in the world, we need to include the up-and-coming Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. It’s the world’s most expensive solar farm, costing $13.6 billion to build as part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy for 2050. This enormous project has a capacity of 1.63GW but is looking to extend by a further 5GW by 2030. That would make its entire capacity a mind-blowing 6.63GW. With its current capacity, it powers 270,000 homes and offsets 1.6 million tons of CO2 every year. So, it’s certainly a welcome addition to the Dubai desert.

Google Earth view of Benban Solar Park in Egypt

Size: 9,142 acres
Capacity: 1.65GW

Perched around 650 km south of Cairo, this project aims to increase Egypt’s share of renewable energy by 2035 – to an impressive 42%. The entire solar park includes 34 separate solar power plants and aims to reduce carbon emissions by 2 million tonnes each year. Did we mention that the park will produce a whopping 3.8 terawatt hours of electricity annually? Although smaller than other solar farms, it’s set to increase its capacity to 1.8 GW in the next few years. So, watch this space.

Google Earth view of The Tengger Desert Solar Park in China

Size: 10,625 acres
Capacity: 1.547GW

Another Chinese contender on our list of the largest solar farms in the world is Tengger Desert Solar Park. It comes in with a capacity of 1.547GW and sits at the southern edge of the Gobi Desert (which gets plenty of sun). This solar park supplies over 600,000 homes and significantly adds to China’s 2919GW overall solar generation capacity.

Google Earth view of Noor Abu Dhabi Solar Power Project in Abu Dhabi

Size: 4447 acres
Capacity: 1.2GW

Another UAE-based solar farm is the Noor Abu Dhabi Solar Power Project (which is also the world’s largest stand-alone operational solar plant). With a capacity of 1.2 GW, this large-scale solar farm boasts over 3.3 million solar panels on one site.

What makes it one of the most impressive solar projects in the world is the fact that it offers an excellent levelized cost of electricity. With each unit priced at $0.73 per kilowatt hour, it easily competes with the cost of fossil fuel-generated electricity. Plus, it produces enough energy to power around 90,000 homes.

This plant uses highly efficient monocrystalline panels (the most popular type of solar panel for large-scale projects). This means the project is highly efficient and will capture tons of energy from Abu Dhabi’s sunlight levels. And with anywhere from 8 to 11 hours of sunshine daily, it’s certainly in a good location.

Google Earth view of Datong Solar Power Top Runner Base in China

Size: 1,590 acres
Capacity: 1GW (to expand to 3GW)

Next up on our rundown of the largest solar farms in the world is Datong Solar Power Top Runner Base in Shanxi. This site is aiming for a total capacity of 3GW and has currently completed its Phase I stage. So, while it might eventually be an enormous solar farm, it’s now sitting at a 1GW capacity (which is no mean feat). It was built in 2016 and cost $138 million to construct– just a fraction of what some of the other contenders on this list cost to build.

Google Earth view of Jinchuan Solar Park in China

Size: 22,239 acres
Capacity: 1.03GW

China is leading the game in the solar world, and Jinchuan Solar Park is another notch on its incredible belt of solar projects. Tucked away in the semi-desert in Jinchuan, it comprises over 15 separate solar plants. It was commissioned in 2013 and uses photovoltaic technology to produce enough energy to power over 876,000 homes.

Google Earth view of Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park in India

Size: 5932 acres
Capacity: 1GW

Although it’s smaller, Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park lives up to its name with an impressive 1GW capacity. It’s tucked away in Pradesh and cost around $880 million to build. This is an excellent solar farm because the area is arid (with only 40 rainy days each year). In short, conditions are utterly ideal for solar power production.

The park contains over 4 million solar panels with 315 to 320-watt capacities, producing enough energy to power the whole of Kurnool. And that’s on a rainy day, so imagine what it can achieve at full power.

Capacity: 1GW

Yanchi Ningxia Solar Park is a ground-mounted solar project with more than 2.5 million solar panels. With a capacity of 1GW, its power output is certainly nothing to sniff at. What sets this solar farm apart is that it’s also used as a goji berry farm. Although it was once deserted land, improved soil quality has allowed agriculture to mingle with the panels over time. So, it’s proof that the two can co-exist. As this is one of the largest solar farms in the world that’s in its early stages, it may boost its capacity over time.

Google Earth view of Villanueva Plant in Mexico

Size: 5930 acres
Capacity: First Phase at 427MW and Second Phase 327MW – amounting to 754 MW in total.

The Villanueva Plant is part of Mexico’s commitment to producing 50% of their overall power with renewables by 2030. So, it’s a highly ambitious project looking to turn the tide of the country’s energy usage. Although it’s still in its building phase, this ground-mounted project will power almost 1.2 million homes in Mexico once completed.

As one of the newer solar farms on this list, it’s also one of the more environmentally friendly ones. The solar plant has introduced new technology to deal with waste and reduce water consumption used by the project. Saving around 441,700 tonnes of CO2 annually, it’s a jewel in Mexico’s crown.

The biggest solar farm in the UK is Shotwick Solar Park in Deeside, which comes in at 220 acres. It generates approximately 68,900MWh of electricity every year and powers around 13,816 homes. While this is undeniably impressive, it doesn’t even compare to the largest solar farms in the world.

The next largest projects are Bradenstoke Solar Park at 69.8MW and Owls Hatch Solar Park at 49.9MW. In short, the UK has a long way to go before it’s considered a solar powerhouse.

While the UK is lagging slightly on the solar front, a large project is currently in the works. Cleve Hill Solar will house around 880,000 panels (considerably more than Shotwick’s 270,000). Theoretically, this should give it a capacity at least three times higher than the current largest solar farm in the UK. This project will cost £450 million to build and will have extensive battery storage to boost output during less ideal conditions.

The only real downside is that this project has faced much opposition from local groups. This means getting planning permission has been much more challenging for the project. Generally, solar power isn’t incredibly contested in the UK. However, massive projects often receive backlash as there’s fear that they may lead to homes being devalued.

It’s tricky to say just how big solar farms will get (and we’re already well on our way to mammoth solar parks). However, there’s a lot of unrealized potential in areas like Africa that can offer as much as 5.48 kWh per m² per day of direct sunlight. The main issue is achieving reliable and sustainable investment to bring these plans to light. But there is some hope here, as China has invested around $13 billion to develop Africa’s clean energy capacity. While not all of this is invested in solar, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

If you want to make money from a project on YOUR land, feel free to contact us. Our expert team will assess your land and guide you through the process of making reliable, passive income from leasing your spare acreage.

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