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The newest crop in India could be electricity from the sun. "Solar Farming" can help change India's energy economy to clean and efficient renewable energy during the day when it is needed the most, create millions of jobs, and could help India to energy independence and national security.
Imagine a crop that can be harvested daily on the most barren desert and arid land, with no fertilizer or tillage, and that produces no harmful emissions. Imagine an energy source so bountiful that it can provide many times more energy than we could ever expect to need or use. Imagine that an hour's worth of sunlight bathing the planet holds far more energy than humans worldwide could consume in a year. You don't have to imagine it -- it's real and it's here. Solar energy is an abundant enormous resource that is readily available to all countries throughout the world, and all the space above the earth. It is clean, no waste comes from it, and it's "free."
This "free" source of electricity can be used to supply the energy needs of homes, farms and businesses. Through the use of Photovoltaic (PV), Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) or Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), sunlight is converted into electricity that can provide power to businesses, homes, and drive motors. Solar power is becoming recognized as an important element in the energy supply planning and customer energy management of utilities worldwide.
I firmly believe that, to meet all its energy needs, India should diversify its energy mix by accelerating the use of all forms of Renewable Energy technologies (including PV, thermal solar, wind power, biomass, bio-gas, and hydro), and more proactively promote energy efficiency. However, in this article, I will only focus on the solar farming potential in India.
What is a Solar Farming?
On a solar farm, large amounts of power are generated from sunlight. Since solar energy is collected from a wide area, it is important to view the process as "farming" to "harvest" renewable energy from the sun. Solar farming is an opportunity for those in the agricultural sector to view solar energy as a "replacement harvest" and create cleaner forms of energy by transforming vacant or even underused land into farms that produce electrical energy. Solar farming lets individuals with non-income producing or otherwise useless acreage to generate a really great rate of return on investment. Imagine making 12% to 15% or more assured return on investment for 30 years without any up-front money. If you have a farm or ranch, even if smaller than an acre, in a location that gets direct sunlight consistently throughout the day and year round, you might consider installing a solar energy system as an alternative source of power. Having a solar energy system would allow you to produce your own electricity. Additionally you could sell some of your electricity to your neighbors, local businesses, or even the local utility company. This is a brand new approach to the solar energy business.
Solar energy farms, especially larger ones, can be interconnected into the electricity grid and produce significant levels of electricity offsetting traditional sources of generation. Moreover, large-scale solar-power generation has the potential to help meet India's enormous energy needs.
Solar energy provides a new kind of experience to farmers in growing their crops. New commercial solar technologies enable farmers to capture solar energy to produce electricity, heat and hot water to enrich their farms, businesses or homes. Solar power provides economic development and energy independence to farmers.
How to Implement Solar Farming
Some governments are providing huge grants or subsidies to fund community solar farm projects as part of their energy programs. Solar farming can help advance India's use of renewable energy and help assure achievement of economic development goals.
To successfully implement Solar Farming requires feed-in tariffs. This allows farmers to invest with the security of 20 to 25 year Government Grants. The energy from these farms is purchased directly by utilities, who often sign 10 to 20 year energy purchase contracts with solar farm owners/operators thereby securing low-cost energy for the end user.
Solar farms will also play a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Just like many other traditional farm activities, solar farming is truly environmentally friendly. By installing solar farm equipment, you'll also considerably boost the value of your property -- it's a great selling point should you decide to sell your farm.
The Future of Solar Farming in Modern India
India is blessed with a vast Solar Energy potential. About 5,000 trillion kWh of solar energy is incident over India every year. Each day most parts of the country receive 4-7 kWh per square meter of land area5. India's deserts and farm land are the sunniest in the world, and thus suitable for large-scale power production. India can lead the world by embracing the power of the sun, if smart business models and realistic policies can be developed and implemented nationwide as quickly as possible. The Indian Government should embrace favorable tax structures and consider providing financial resources to fund projects to put up community solar farms as part of their energy development programs. India can become the Saudi Arabia of clean Solar Energy.
Solar Energy has the advantage of permitting the decentralized distribution of energy, particularly for meeting rural energy needs, thereby empowering people at the grassroots level. Solar electricity could also shift about 90 percent of daily trip mileage from gasoline to electricity by encouraging increased use of plug-in hybrid cars. For drivers in India this means that the cost per mile could be reduced by one-fourth (in today's prices).
A decline in solar panel prices over the last two years also has contributed to exponential increases in solar deployment worldwide and lower project costs. These factors have allowed developers to offer solar energy prices comparable to those paid for wind and fossil-fuel power. A new technology that also holds promise is Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV). First brought to commercial operation in 2008, CPV uses a concentrating optical system that focuses a large area of sunlight onto the individual photovoltaic cells. This feature makes CPV panels two to three times more efficient (approximately 40%) at converting sunlight to electricity as compared to silicon-based PV (15% to 20%) and thin films (9% to 13%)3. For details see the chart below.
Major cost reductions will be realized through mass manufacturing. The steep increase in system efficiency, combined with decreases in manufacturing costs could level the cost of energy for CPV at around $0.10/kWh by 2015. Various incentives by Central and State governments, including tax credits and feed-in tariffs, can further reduce the cost. Also, the "free fall" in solar panel prices has been driven by the growth of solar installations, which is no longer a small business -- but an over $100 billion industry worldwide. Cost reductions are so dramatic that Bloomberg recently reported solar energy could soon rival coal. The cost has become so competitive during peak times in Japan and California that the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot goal of $1 per watt for large projects by 2017 may happen a lot sooner4.
Solar farms are becoming massive -- for example, the Castilla La Mancha solar farm in Spain occupies an area the size of seventy football pitches and will have 100,000 solar panels when fully operational; capable of generating 30 million kilowatts an hour.
The next generation distributed nature of solar farmed renewable energy will provide a strategic advantage -- it will make the present utility companies and infrastructure obsolete. In my opinion, all new energy production in India could be from renewable sources by 2030 and all existing generation could be converted to renewable energy by 2050, if deployment is backed by the right enabling public policies.
Farming Solar Energy in Space
Harvesting solar power from space through orbiting solar farms sounds extremely interesting. The concept of solar panels beaming down energy from space has long been thought as too costly and difficult. However, due to the current global energy crisis and concerns about the environment, Japanese researchers at the Institute for Laser Technology in Osaka have produced up to 180 watts of laser power from sunlight. Scientists in Hokkaido have completed tests of a power transmission system designed to send energy in microwave form to Earth. Mitsubishi Electric Corp., a manufacturer of solar panels, has decided to join a $24 billion Japanese project to construct a massive solar farm in space within three decades.
Japan has already started working towards its goal by developing a technology for a 1-gigawatt solar farm, which would include four square kilometers of solar panels stationed 36,000 kilometers above the earth's surface. The energy that will be produced by the solar farm would be enough to supply power to nearly 400,000 average Japanese homes.
California's next source of renewable power could be an orbiting set of solar panels, high above the equator that would beam electricity back to earth via a receiving station in Fresno County. Sometime before 2016, Solaren Corp. plans to launch the world's first orbiting solar farm. Unfurled in space, the panels would bask in near-constant sunshine and provide a steady flow of electricity day and night. Receivers on the ground would take the energy -- transmitted through a beam of electromagnetic waves -- and feed it into California's power grid. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has agreed to buy power from a start-up company that wants to tap the strong, unfiltered sunlight found in space to solve the growing demand for clean energy.
Solar energy represents a bright spot on India's economic front. If India makes a massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power, it is possible that 70 percent of India's electricity and 35 percent of its total energy could be solar-powered by 2030. This would require the creation of a vast region of photovoltaic cells in the Southwest and other parts of the country that could operate at night as well as during the day. Excess daytime energy can be stored in various forms such as molten or liquid salt (a mixture of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate), compressed air, pumped hydro, hydrogen, battery storage, etc., which would be used as an energy source during nighttime hours.
Solar Energy will be competitive with coal as improved and efficient solar cells, concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) enter the market. I predict that solar farming advancements and growth would empower India's rural economies. To take advantage of low cost renewable solar energy, companies will move their operations from urban areas to rural areas due to cheaper land and labor within the solar belt.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE) says solar photovoltaic is poised to compete with fossil fuels within the next 10 years because the PV systems have the potential to be the most economical form of generating electricity, even compared to traditional fossil fuels. "Solar PV will be a game changer," said James Prendergast, IEEE Senior Member and IEEE Executive Director4. "No other alternative source has the same potential. As the cost of electricity from solar continues to decrease compared to traditional energy sources we will see tremendous market adoption, and I suspect it will be a growth limited only by supply. I fundamentally believe that solar PV will become one of the key elements of the solution to our near- and long-term energy challenges."
Solar Farming is a renewable source of energy and the greenest form of commercial energy. Solar Energy has become the leading alternative to the costly and eco disasters associated with fossil fuels. I urge the Government of India to accelerate the country's solar energy expansion plans and policies by implementing government subsidies for residential solar power through renewable energy rebates and feed-in tariffs. Solar Farming is a great concept for an efficient use of otherwise barren land.
I think it's time to recognize that our energy must ultimately come from renewable resources, and hasten deployment of renewable energy. India must ramp up its effort to develop and implement utility scale solar energy in conjunction with its private partners to bring solar energy to market as quickly as possible. Large utility scale solar energy farms are part of the answer to implementing energy generated from the sun to meet India's economic development goals.
For example, Google is investing $168 Million in the biggest Solar Farm ever. When completed in 2013, the Mojave Desert-based Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will send approximately 2,600 megawatts of power to the grid, doubling the amount of solar thermal power produced in the U.S and generating enough electricity to power 140,000 California homes when operating at full capacity.
I personally think there are no technological or economic barriers to supplying almost 100% of India's energy demand through the use of clean renewable energy from solar, wind, hydro and bio-gas by 2050. India needs a radical transformation of energy system to the efficient use of renewable energies, especially solar power.
Solar Energy is a game-changing program for India. India must accelerate and encourage the domestic development of renewable energy now. It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will to achieve this goal to eliminate our wasteful spending and dependence on foreign sources of energy and save our planet. The Indian Government should provide favorable government policies to ease the permitting process and to provide start-up capital to promote the growth of solar energy. I think that policy changes can go a long way toward reducing costs. In the coming years state and central governments should provide initiatives and other support in order to increase solar power plant capacity. India could potentially increase grid-connected solar power generation capacity to over 200,000 MW by 2030, if adequate resources and incentives are provided. Solar energy is a Win-Win situation for India and the environment, and has the potential to power India's economy, create millions of new jobs and change the face of India as a Green Nation.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and are not intended to represent the views or policies of the United States Department of Energy. The article was not prepared as part of the writer's official duties at the United States Department of Energy.
Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Government of India (http://www.mnre.gov.in).
U.S. Department of Energy (www.doe.gov).
Solar Industry (http://www.solarindustrymag.com).
Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission -- Towards Building SOLAR INDIA
Periodicals, Journals, and Articles:
"How Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Technology Can Meet India's Future Power Needs" by Darshan Goswami, Triple Pundit, February 24, 2010; (http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/02/rajasthan-desert-solar/).
"Concentrated Photovoltaics Technology Carving A Compelling Niche," by Nancy Hartsoch, Solar Industry Magazine June 11, 2011(http://www.solarindustrymag.com).
"Google invests $280 million to spur home solar" Yahoo News by Jonathan Fahey, AP -- Energy Writer -- Jun 14, 2011.
"Farming Solar Energy in Space" -- Scientific American Magazine -- July 2008.
"Solar Energy Applications for Farms and Ranches" U.S. Department of Energy -- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, http://www.energysavers.gov/your_workplace/farms_ranches/index.cfm/mytopic=30006
For information on purchasing reprints of this article, contact sales. Copyright 2013 CyberTech, Inc.
Agreed in principle. Solar thermal, CPV and concentrating stirling, all intelligently deployed, can very soon if not today make obsolete all other new build of generation, especially in places like India approaching fossil fuel shortages.
Baseload should be large installs of thermal with thermal storage, seawater cooling.
Intermediate should be mid-size Stirling dish or CPV installs, well distributed on the grid.
Peaking should be distributed PV or CPV, largely behind the meters.
By the time it gets to significant penetration levels, the costs will make it the system of choice, but we need to get doing it in high volumes to get there. Since the old-time utilities in the developed world won't do it, perhaps the onus will fall to India etc.
Jim Beyer 8.30.11
If the local people, with limited training, built the panels themselves, then they could achieve something close to $1 per Watt now. Plus, it would provide some local buy-in on the investment. A solar panel requires significant labor to assemble from the basic cell components. I don't know if the economics make sense even at $1 per Watt. It would be nice if the local folks could get access to some of this power that they'd generate, let we (as a world) evolve to a large number of energy serfs working for an elite few living in city centers.
Lawrence Keen 8.30.11
I'm wondering about the numbers listed in the Castilla La Mancha paragraph. If my arithmetic is okay, 30,000,000 kwh divided by 100,000 panels means every panel puts out 300 kwh. I would like to know more about those individual panels since I could use about 6 or 7 to power my immediate neighborhood.
Jim Beyer 8.30.11
Good catch Lawrence. Some googling indicates that Castilla La Mancha is (presently) only 12 MW. That would be 12M/100K = 120 Watts per panel. (That seems low.) Per day (7 hours) would be 84,000 kwh. Per year would be (aha!) 30,660,000 kwh. [Only off by a factor of 8,760....] Something's wrong here. Even if the capacity is to be increased, I can't see how it is presently such a tiny fraction of it's proposed size.
Wiki Page "Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park" cites 60 MW (peak) and 270,000 panels, or 220 watts apiece. Also says it costs $530 million dollars.
I'm not sure what's wrong here, but I'm (now) worried that these calculations may have impacted Mr. Goswami's financial calculations. But $1/Watt as future cost of PV is not out-of-bounds, however.
bill payne 8.30.11
4 Fact 4 Alexander Braun points out in the April 2010 issue of SEMICONDUCTOR International
Since 2002, photovoltaic production has doubled roughly every two years, increasing at a yearly average of 48%, making it the fastest growing energy technology. By 2008, PV installations worldwide had surpassed 15 GW and the end is not in sight. However, as Obi-Wan might paradoxically put it, "There is a Dark Side to sun power.
Eventually, existing installations will reach the end of their useful lifetimes, requiring replacement. One of the seeming contradictions of producing the means to generate clean renewable energy is that you must manufacture them using stuff that can be pretty deadly to the environment such as ammonia, arsine, cadmium sulfate and diborane. And when you discard these installations, effluvia such as arsenic are released during solar cell decomposition, and then there is all that chromium in screws and frames.
But there is more to PV manufacturing than just recycling. According to the SVTC's white paper, "Toward a Just and Sustainable Solar Energy Industry, although the solar PV boom is still in its infancy, what it describes as "disturbing global trends" are emerging. It goes on to say that a considerable amount of the polysilicon feedstock material - the refined silicon used as crystalline silicon solar cells' basic material - is produced in countries like China, "where manufacturing costs and environmental regulatory enforcement are low." It also quotes a March 2008 Washington Post report that at least one plant in China's Henan Province regularly dumps silicon tetrachloride, a toxic waste product of polysilicon manufacturing, on nearby farmland. The Post quoted Li Xiaoping, deputy director of the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences: "Crops cannot grow on this, and it is not suitable for people to live nearby."
Hello Bill, In New Mexico all grid-tie alterative energy production must have a 2 meter system. One meter records the energy that is produced by your wind or solar system that goes back to the grid and the second meter records the energy that you use from the grid. The answer to your question is the meter does not go backwards. Thanks for the question, Michael Spiller Sunsmiths Ltd Co 505-281-8104 Home / Office 505-252-9227 Cell www.sunsmiths.com
Your article," Solar Farming Potential in India " is no doubt interesting Darshan Goswami. As a Renewable Energy Expert known and seen Renewables development in India,I would like to share prospects for Solar Energy.
India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. India is already a leader in wind power generation. In the solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 GW to 2,100 GW. In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020. Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels. On November 18, 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013. Current status With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India's theoretical solar power reception, on only its land area, is about 5 Petawatt-hours per year (PWh/yr) (i.e. 5 trillion kWh/yr or about 600 TW). The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 1500–2000 sunshine hours per year (depending upon location), which is far more than current total energy consumption. For example, assuming the efficiency of PV modules were as low as 10%, this would still be a thousand times greater than the domestic electricity demand projected for 2015. Installed capacity The amount of solar energy produced in India is less than 1% of the total energy demand. The grid-interactive solar power as of December 2010 was merely 10 MW. Government-funded solar energy in India only accounted for approximately 6.4 MW-yr of power as of 2005. However, as of October 2009, India is currently ranked number one along with the United States in terms of solar energy production per watt installed. India's largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants Name of Plant DC Peak Power (MW) GWh /year Capacity factor Notes Sivaganga Photovoltaic Plant 5 Completed December 2010 Kolar Photovoltaic Plant[ 3 Completed May 2010 Itnal Photovoltaic Plant, Belgaum 3 Completed April 2010 Azure Power - Photovoltaic Plant 2 2009 Chesdin Power - Biomass and Solar Photovoltaic Plants 4.1 Completes December 2011 Jamuria Photovoltaic Plant 2 2009 NDPC Photovoltaic Plant 1 2010 Thyagaraj stadium Plant-Delh 1 April, 2010 Gandhinagar Solar Plant 1 January 21, 2011 Tata - Mulshi, Maharashtra[ 3 Commissioned April 2011 Azure Power - Sabarkantha, Gujarat 10 Commissioned June 2011 Moser Baer - Patan, Gujarat 30 To Be Commissioned July 2011 Tata - Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu 1 Commissioned July 2011 REHPL - Sadeipali, (Bolangir) Orissa 1 Commissioned July 2011 Tata - Patapur, Orissa 1 Commissioned August 2011 Tata - Osmanabad, Maharastra 1 Commissioned 1st Aug 2011 Total 60 (Source: Wikipedia)
Though Solar Energy in India has been given hype the advancement is slow. On the other hand Wind Energy is expanding in India. The installed capacity of Wind Farms in India as on March 2011 stands at 14157 MW. Now a days a lot of talk is on Concentrated Solar Power(CSP). In fact it is not new. The USA was one of the early pioneers with Solar 1 and Solar 2 large mirror arrays focused on so-called central “power towers” installed in the Mojave desert in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Similar projects were tested elsewhere, for example in Italy – with “heliostat” mirrors tracking the sun. But the technology was expensive. Now however, with the technology improving, energy prices rising and concerns about climate change growing, this approach is being looked at again around the world, and some major projects are under way.
Unless Solar PV efficiency is increased and material cost production reduced,Solar PV may not compete with conventional power leave away even Wind Power.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India Renewable Energy Expert E-mail: email@example.com
Don Hirschberg 8.30.11
Unless we can say everything we have heard about CO2 and climate over the last 20 years or so is very seriously in error we have already passed the point of no return. All the ethanol and biodiesel projects, all the wind and solar projects have not even mitigated our relentless increase CO2 emission. It gets worse every year without even a hint of slowing in sight. If Pulsers here are in denial how can we expect the public and their politicians to understand? So if we are in a feed-back loop (where the worse it gets the worse it gets) CO2 climate situation how does building solar energy capacity over the coming decades figure to help us when “all competent scientists” tell us we are in free-fall now. It would be nice to hear from some “incompetent scientists.”
Soon solar plants will have to have sensible heat storage. Maybe for about 14 hour’s worth of energy. But some days there are clouds, sand storms and even rainy days. Looks to me that even one day so lost would require the installation to have 38 hours of heat storage. In many otherwise ideal sites cooling water supply would be a daunting problem, maybe without an economic solution.
Just suppose it were possible we could get to 50% of global electricity generated by solar energy. Because the demand for electrify continues to go up (soon a billion in Africa alone will want electricity) does not necessarily mean CO2 emissions will have by then gone down from present rates. Demographic experts say population will keep on growing by more billions. Food and fresh water shortages are already terrible problems in a growing number of countries.
Oh yes, carbon capture. Not only is carbon capture very expensive from any fossil fuel but it significantly reduces overall thermal efficiency, hence fossil fuel usage would need go up merely to supply the same net energy. No poetry, it is all about numbers.
constantin robitu 8.30.11
Coming back to the article subject “Solar Farming Potential in India” it may be pointed the following: The faster recovery of investment and service cost of solar energy production station, due to shorter life of station equipment compared to the conventional energy production equipment, will increase accordingly the crop cost, this being greater than the actual cost. What kind of economical model is this, giving the same product with the same quality, with greater cost (price)? Generally speaking the article is good for promoting solar energy as clean energy. For beginning is enough. With deep respect and consideration, Constantin ROBITU
Mey Vairavan 8.31.11
I have great interest in implementing a CPV system generating 1200 KW per month for my home in rural southern India. Any idea of how much investment is required, amount of government subsidies, payback period and excess power sale price to local utility on a long-term basis?
Len Gould 8.31.11
Mey: Not sure anyone has CPV (Concentrating PhotoVoltaic) units available retail yet. I'd suggest your best bet is to shop the web in China for regular PV. Guessing usefull 200 hrs per month, you should get 1,200 kwh/month from a 6 KW array. Estimating US$2,000 / KW if you do the installations yourself, that's an investment of perhaps $12,000. More if you want automated battery storage and inverter output.
Darshan Goswami 8.31.11
Len: There is a new solar technology which is about 40% efficient just came in the market. This is proprietary technology by SolFocus (http://www.solfocus.com/en/).
You can read more on this subject in the latest article in Solar Industry magazine below and also visit the SolFocus website links. You can also see how it is manufactured. Please see the attached links below. Solar Industry Magazine article: "Concentrated Photovoltaic Technology Carving A Compelling Niche" http://issuu.com/zackinpublications/docs/sim1106_online?mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true
SolFocus Concentrated Photovoltaic Systems Technology http://www.solfocus.com/en/index.php
SolFocus: Factory to Field http://www.solfocus.com/en/
SolFocus' leading CPV technology combines high-efficiency solar cells with advanced concentrating optics to provide high energy yield using just 1/1000th the amount of solar cell material used in traditional photovoltaic systems.
I hope this answers your question.
Jim Beyer 9.2.11
Do you really think Castilla La Mancha generates 30 million kilowatts an hour?
For one, that doesn't even make sense in terms of units. It would be more correct to say that it generates 30 million kilowatts. But that would be 30 Billion watts. That's 20X more power than is generated by the Fermi II Nuclear Power plant in SE Michigan (1500 MW).
Something is wrong here. Did you mean 30 million kilowatt-hours per year?
I appreciate it that units are annoying and pesky (really!) but it is only in energy calculations (it would seem) that people can make statements that are off by a factor of 1000X or 10,000X.
Darshan Goswami 9.6.11
Thank you for your comments. Let me share with you the proof of what I wrote. Please go on the weblink below and check it out. If you still have questions, please email me or call me. You can find my email and phone number on energypulse.net.
World's biggest solar power farm opens By: thinkSPAIN , Thursday, March 22, 2007 http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/12834 It occupies a plot the size of seventy football pitches and can supply all the energy needs of 12,000 households all year round. The world's largest solar power farm was inaugurated yesterday in Beneixama (Alicante).
When fully operational (40,000 panels are already in use), its 100,000 8Mw solar panels will be capable of generating 30 million kilowatts an hour.
The total cost of the project, which is being promoted by the German City Solar company, is estimated to be around €150 million.
Although currently the world's largest installation of its type anywhere in the world, the company recognises that it will lose this record within just a few months as larger solar power farms are set to open elsewhere, including one in Portugal.
The main benefit of the Beneixama plant is that it will reduce CO2 emissions by 30,000 tonnes each year.
The total turnover of the solar power energy industry rose 50% in 2005 to €586 million.
Spain is second largest European market behind Germany, where there are 5,000 installations employing more than 10,500 people.
Germany is the world's fourth largest solar power generator.
Jim Beyer 9.6.11
Based on this link:
It is clear the output is 30 million kilowatt-hours PER YEAR.
I looked around and a PQ-200 module (used in the project) produces 200 Watts.
So 40,000x200 = 8MW (cited in your quote) and the full system (100,000 panels) will be 100,000x200 = 20MW.
From my 8/30 post, this coincides with the notion that the whole site produces 20MW, and this is also consistent with the production being 30 million kilowatt-hours per year.
So you cited an article which got the figures wrong, or garbled them.
Len Gould 9.7.11
So the $200 million (€150 m) is for 20 MW installed? That's steep, about $10,000 / kw. I'd estimated $2,000 / kw above, which I think is actually do-able for self-installation on existing property. Is it land costs? Install labour? Grid connections? Transmission?
Jim Beyer 9.7.11
I wouldn't trust any of the numbers in that article cited. It's all garbled up. Looking around in your neck of the woods, the Sarnia plant (didn't know it had one) was expanded by 60 MW at the cost of $400 million CN. So that's about $6600 CN/ KW, which is about the same in US.
You raise an interesting point; Solar doesn't seem to scale very well. Maybe it's better off in peoples' homes. Paying 44 cents per kw-hr seems pretty high, but putting down a one time cost of 10K or 20K to have a home largely independent of the grid doesn't seem so bad. [That's the cost of a major kitchen remodel....]