The biggest utility-scale solar farms on earth

Ranking of the 12 biggest constructed and planned utility-scale solar projects worldwide

Laura Rodríguez

26 Jan, 21

Solar energy is expected to reach 1.5 TW of total capacity by 2025 which would mean that projects will grow 150% from 2019 (603 GW) according to data by IEA.

There is a massive growth potential for the sector not only because solar power is now economically viable but also because our consumption requirements are on the rise. Added up with the increasing necessity for renewable energies to tackle climate change has resulted in a breaking record investment on development and R&D in technology.

In this sense, there has been a race on developing solar panels with the highest solar wattage rates that reach nowadays +500W while also increasing, in some cases, the size of the panel itself from the classic 2x1m to 2.3x1.1m, a 20% larger.

In terms of solar farms, trends also reveal a tendency toward larger plants where permitted. According to RatedPower’s data from more than 2,000 GW of simulations worldwide in 2019 and 2020, the average size of solar plants has increased more than 19% from 53 MW to 64 MW in 2020.

Next, we will take a closer look at both the largest completed solar plants at the moment as well as the biggest planned projects on the race to build the largest solar plant.

Largest operational solar plants

  1. Bhadla Solar Park, Rajasthan, India - 2,225 MW
  2. Huanghe Hydropower Development, Qinghai province, China - 2,200 MW and planned to reached 16,000 MW
  3. Tengger Desert Solar Park, China – 1,547MW
  4. Sweihan Photovoltaic Independent Power Project, UAE – 1,177MW
  5. Datong Solar Power Top Runner Base, China – 1,070MW planned to reach 3,000 MW
  6. Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, India – 1,000MW
  7. Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, China – 850MW
  8. Enel Villanueva PV Plant, Mexico – 828MW
  9. Yanchi Ningxia Solar Park, China – 820 MW planned to reach 2,000 MW
  10. Kamuthi Solar Power Station, India – 648 MW
  11. Solar Star Projects, US – 579MW
  12. Topaz Solar Farm / Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, California, US – 550MW

As of January 2021, we can see why China is the world leader of solar capacity more than duplicating its closer competitor. Additionally, in spite of the pandemic and as studied in our latest blog post, China was able to obtain a capacity growth of 40 GW in 2020. 5 of the top 12 larger solar plants are located in China and total a capacity of + 6 GW.

Following China we could highlight India with 3 top larger solar plants holding the top position with the recent Bahdla Solar Park.

Largest to be built solar plants

  1. Largest Renewable Energy Project Solar–Wind Project, India - 30,000 MW
  2. Asian Renewable Energy Hub, Pilbara Region, Australia - 26,000 MW by 2028
  3. Huanghe Hydropower Development, Qinghai province, China - currently 2,200 MW and planned to reached 16,000 MW
  4. SunCable Australia-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL), Northern Territory, Australia - 10,000 MW by 2027
  5. SoftBank Solar Project, Saudi Arabia - 7,000 MW planned to reach 200,000MW
  6. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, United Arab Emirates (UAE) - Projected Output: 5,000 MW by 2030
  7. TAQA, Masdar, EDF, JinkoSolar, Abu Dhabi, UAE - 2,000 MW
  8. Shakti Sthala, Pavagada, Karnataka, India - 2,000 MW
  9. Engie, Neoen Solar Project, France - 1,000 MW
  10. Solar Partners XI, LLC, Las Vegas, USA - 690 MW
  11. World’s largest floating solar energy plant, Omkareshwar Dam reservoir, Madhya Pradesh - 600 MW by 2023
  12. Iberdrola Solar Farm, Extremadura, Spain - 590 MW

Source: rendering Suncable

To sum up, bigger and bigger solar projects are being constructed and planned; nevertheless, it is interesting to mention that an average of 30% of China’s solar output is wasted due to infrastructure constraints. Therefore it is equally important to develop solar plants as it is investing in a new and strengthened distribution and transmission network to transfer electric power efficiently.

This poses the question of, will we be able to adapt to the environment and channel properly all the energy generated?

China, India, Australia, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia seem to be on the race to build the largest solar plant in the World and we will be eager to find out more details of every single one of these projects.

If you want to be updated on the latest solar news, go ahead and download the Renewable and solar research report.

On the other hand, if you are interested in designing the next biggest solar plant in the world, you should definitely request a demo and try pvDesign.

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Laura Rodríguez

Business developer

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