2012 A Big Year For Big Solar

2012 was a record year for large scale PV solar farm construction says Wiki-Solar.

Late in December, the site published data showing global installed capacity of PV-based plants over 10MW reached 8.5GW after over 3GW capacity was installed in 2012 alone.

“Though final annual figures will not be published until the New Year, it is clear from interim data that this year has comfortably exceeded the 2.3GW of new capacity in 2011. These figures relate only to installations of 10MW and above,” says a Wiki Solar release. The site shows 9,424MW of utility scale solar capacity currently under development.

German companies accounted for seven of the top ten engineering, procurement and construction contractors.

Wiki-Solar’s Phillip Wolfe noted independent and regional utilities are driving the uptake, with some of the world’s largest utilities giving solar the cold shoulder.

The top 3 inverter suppliers for large scale projects are SMA, Schneider Electric and Power-One.

There are currently over 300 PV projects of 10MW+ capacity globally, with a further 260 under construction. 10MW installations are capable of generating enough power to provide electricity for around 3,000 average households.

The largest solar farm in the world at present – which is still is still expanding – is the Agua Caliente facility in Arizona, which exceeded 250MW in September and will be 300MW when completed.

Wiki-Solar’s rankings showing the world’s leading module suppliers to large-scale solar plants includes REC at number 8, with 97MW of REC solar panels at 3 sites.

Germany tops the ranks of large scale solar deployment with 2,704MW capacity, followed by the USA (1,481MW), Spain (1,063MW) and China (575MW). Australia is at no.20; with  10MW operational and 121MW under construction. The USA overtook Spain during 2012 as the second largest market for utility-scale PV projects.

An interactive map showing large-scale solar plants currently operating, under development or in planning stages can be viewed here.