Solar power plants

What are solar power plants?

Solar power plants are power plants that have been built on huge scales in order to generate electricity with the help of Photo Voltaic panels. These Photo voltaic panels are able to convert the rays of the sun into current electricity. Solar energy is a renewable form of power generation, which is also environmentally friendly.

Solar power plants compared to other types of power plants:

When comparing the land and space used by solar power plants and hydro electric dams (which also includes the size of the whole lake where the dam has been constructed), and the total power generated by each, it is evident that solar power plants use comparatively less land to generate a great amount of electricity. Similarly, coal plants also require a huge portion of land as well as man power that is needed for mining and excavation purposes. Nearly all power generation plants in short, require a lot of land and also have an adverse impact on the environment and their surroundings. Therefore the most ideal locations for these plants would be deserts or other areas where human inhabitation is less.

Following are some of the largest solar power plants found in the world:

Solnova Solar Power Station

The largest CSP power station is the Solnova Solar Power Station which has been made up of five distinct units, each unit of fifty Mega Watt. This plant has been established in Sanlúcar la Mayor, Spain, at the Solar Platform. There is a PS20 solar power tower also located in the same vicinity. It is a fact that this particular power generation plant has been ranked as the largest solar power station in the world, and this was done when the third fifty Mega Watt unit of the plant was commissioned.

Copper Mountain Solar Facility

Another solar facility worth mentioning is the Copper Mountain Solar Facility. This is a 48MW plant functioning on photo voltaic panels in Boulder City of Nevada State. The construction of this plant was initiated in January 2010 by the Sempra Generation, who announced the completion of the plant, and initiation of power generation on the 1st of December 2010. When the construction of the plant was at its peak, over 350 workers had been employed to install the 775,000 first solar panels at the plant.

El Dorado solar power plant

The El Dorado solar power plant is located close to the Copper Mountain Solar Facility and they both work together to generate power. The power generated from both, the Copper Mountain Facility, as well as the nearby El Dorado solar power plant is enough to power a small city. Under a certain law, all Californian utilities are supposed to acquire 20% of their power generation from renewable sources. It has been announced that this figure must increase to 33% by the year 2020. This is a means to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in order to help conserve the environment.

The Nellis Solar Power Plant:

The Nellis Solar Power Plant is located at Nellis Air Force Base in USA. It was completed in December 2007and has been operational ever since. This photo voltaic solar plant is situated at the Nellis Air Force Base in Clark Country, Nevada. The solar plant has been established on a total area of 140 acres which has been leased from the Air Force. What is unique about this particular solar power plant is the fact that, instead of conventional photo voltaic solar panels, it has been installed with an extremely advanced sun tracking system.

How does the sun tracking system work?

Each of the solar panels is tilted facing south and has been designed to rotate around a central unit tracking the direction of the rays of the sun from east to west. The Nellis Solar Power Plant is a 14Mega Watt project which has the capacity to generate 30 million KW of power annually. This means that this plant alone produces 82KW hour’s worth of electricity every day and also contributes to an estimated 25% of the total power production. The Nellis Solar Power Plant is based on a state of the art design which ensures complete usage of the sun’s radiations throughout the day.

The advantages of solar power plants:

Solar energy is the future of electricity generation for our planet. This form of renewable energy can help conserve the environment and preserve the fossil fuels of the earth as well. Solar power plants do not harm the environment unlike coal and nuclear power plants. The toxic waste from nuclear power plants is enough to destroy generations of flora and fauna in the surrounding areas of the plants. Solar power plants don’t harm the environment at all and also use a much smaller amount of land as compared to hydro electric dams and nuclear power stations. Hydro electric dams also require damming of enormous amounts of water at a lake reservoir, which causes complete extinction of many species of flora and fauna from many parts of the original water pathways.