From a news story in Forbes -
The United States added a staggering 3.3 gigawatts of solar power capacity in 2012, according to a new report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
To put the scale of solar power’s rapid and relentless expansion in perspective, the solar power capacity added in 2012 was greater than all of the solar power capacity added for the three previous years combined. If you’re not impressed yet, consider the swell of super-sized solar energy projects scheduled to come online in the US over the next few years.
Top 10 Largest Solar Projects Under Construction Slideshow
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Sorrento Solar Farm
Sorrento Solar Farm Capacity: 100 MW Developer: BlueChip Energy Location: Orlando, FL
Indeed, nine of the top 10 largest solar power projects currently under development are located in the US, according to SolarPlaza.
First Solar, the Tempe, AZ-based solar manufacturing giant, is developing three of the largest solar power farms in the world currently under construction – the Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County, CA, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in Riverside County, CA, and the Agua Caliente Solar Project in Yuma County, AZ. These three projects alone will have a combined capacity of nearly one and a half gigawatts of electric power when they are completed.
Like First Solar, Sempra Generation and SunPower also have mega scale solar projects in the pipeline in California and Arizona.
The surge in solar power capacity deployed in 2012 is not surprising given the history of global investments in solar energy over the past decade. From 2004 to 2007, global private sector investment in solar energy increased nearly twenty-fold, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This investment trajectory and the resulting market expansion has driven down costs across the solar supply chain and made it considerably cheaper to generate electricity with solar technologies than it was previously.