California to build 'world's largest' solar farm

By 2011, near Fresno, California, San Francisco-based Cleantech America LLC plans to build the world's largest solar power plant: 640 acres to fit the 80-megawatt farm, seven times the size of the world's biggest plant and double the largest planned farm, both in Germany. Bill Barnes, CEO of the privately held 2-year-old company, said the scale of the project will change renewable energy and make California the global leader for huge solar projects, replacing Germany as the solar energy hub of the world. Barnes declined to give the estimated construction cost of the Community Choice farm.

Cleantech will partner with public agency California Construction Authority. Among the hurdles to be crossed before the new farm can be built, said Barnes, is buying the acreage somewhere in the San Joaquin Valley, hooking the farm to transmission lines, and contracting with a manufacturer of photovoltaic solar panels. Cleantech plans to sell the solar-generated power (enough for almost 21,000 homes) to the Kings River Conservation District, the water management arm of the San Joaquin Valley Power Authority.

News source: CNN

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Ok how about we cover the whole moon with solar pannels that way we can have 24/7 solar energy and use the technology showed in CES to wirelsly bring it back to Earth....

if only the americans had not had a war in IRAQ and the people with money and power had not been stupid.

EDIT: and then we could have a new term 'wireless electrical shock!'

This news is not accurate. The world's largest solar farm is in Portugal, in Serpa. The solar farm produces 11MW o power to power 8.000 houses. It produces 40% more power then the second larger in Germany.

Get your sources right.

No You get your sources right

Portugal Solar Plant is 60-hectare (150-acre) - 11-megawatt
California (U.S) Solar Plant is 256-hectare (640 acre) - 80-megawatt

Winner: California

EduardValencia said,
No You get your sources right

Portugal Solar Plant is 60-hectare (150-acre) - 11-megawatt
California (U.S) Solar Plant is 256-hectare (640 acre) - 80-megawatt

Winner: California


how about YOU actually reading the source above...
read this news' headline: "California to build [...]"
then again Germany will prolly stay the most important researcher and producer of solar technology for quite some time...

and still this project rocks :)

Glassed Silver:mac

Yes,but it's a fact,the construction is ordered,the money is in place,everything is set up.

Adding that California is a myor player in clean energy,this isn't new to them

The problem with all centralised power is the inefficiency of distribution. You have to generate loads of current if the plant's a few hundred kilometres away to get a little at the outlet. And then the unreliable network.

We need to think small and local.

Solar panels on roofs will cut base demand.

Small neighbourhood power stations for handling peak demand and the excess need solar can't.

Why can't we figure out a way to make freeways out of solar panels?

its good someones finally taking an iniative, we need to start powering our towns and cities through renewable non polluting energy.

I agree. Although I'm kind of on the fence on the whole GW issue, every little bit helps. I dig how that one actor charges his car and runs his whole house on his solar array and grows his own food etc.. The "Who Killed the Electric Car" flick was pretty depressing.

dhitb said,
The "Who Killed the Electric Car" flick was pretty depressing.

ya i saw it too, kind of depressing but at the end they showed alternative car companies that make electric cars like Tesla Motors and theyre really impressive, Ill get an electric car for sure and not only for the environment.

You know, instead of filling 640 acers with solar panels, why dont we just make it a law that each house should have at least 2 solar panels on them? huh? oh thats right because then YOU COULDNT CHARGE PEOPLE FOR THE POWER! ugh....

Good point. The real solution is to put solar power on every roof in the country, residential and commercial. The only reason the utilities are jumping on this now, finally, is they know their business model is evaporating. If they build it, they can charge us the same rate even though their costs are going down (= more profit). If WE pay for this stuff, we don't need them anymore...forever.

Just think, we could have spent the trillion on the useless Iraq war on eliminating our country's need to ever give a damn about what happens in the Middle East ever again.

excalpius said,
Just think, we could have spent the trillion on the useless Iraq war on eliminating our country's need to ever give a damn about what happens in the Middle East ever again. :)

ah but by spending trillions on a pointless war he saved millions on oil, see what smart businessman george bush is?

problem is, the tech is still very expensive for a individual (or family) and 2 panels wont do squat.


there was a suburb in the us i remember reading about a while ago that had a solar package on every house, and i think the average utility bill for each house something staggering like 85% less then a normal house on the grid. only reason its not self sufficient is batterie tech is not sufficient and the sun dosnt shine 24/7.

Nose Nuggets said,
problem is, the tech is still very expensive for a individual (or family) and 2 panels wont do squat.


there was a suburb in the us i remember reading about a while ago that had a solar package on every house, and i think the average utility bill for each house something staggering like 85% less then a normal house on the grid. only reason its not self sufficient is batterie tech is not sufficient and the sun dosnt shine 24/7.

yes, but the more the home user puts into the grid the less we polute with CO2... anything is more then nothing

Neufuse hit the nail on the head. Energy is big business, it is also the basis behind modern society. There are alot of people making alot of money off of our current system and they will not give that up so easily.

The truth of the matter is the world could run off of a combination of solar, wind and hydro. Putting solar panels on the roofs of every building in sunny areas would cut energy needs and pollution considerably. The panels they use on the mars rovers are also about 66% more efficient than current panels because they absorb multiple types of radiation, the only problem is they're extremely expensive at this point. There are also other ways of harnessing solar power other than through panels such as channeling the light via mirrors to a central core which in turn heats water into steam.

Cold fusion is still a possibility as well; there has been some recent headroom through experimentation. Nuclear plants, however, are very expensive to construct, maintain and teardown besides there being no viable solution to nuclear waste. That is replacing one pollutant with another as far as I'm concerned.

HawkMan said,
if only the US would use a sensible system like metrics :)

who needs easily convertable measurements that are multiples of ten? id rather measure by the length of a British kings foot.

black_death said,
who needs easily convertable measurements that are multiples of ten? id rather measure by the length of a British kings foot.

Totally. The metric system is overrated.

(That was sarcasm, by the way.)

gigapixels said,

Totally. The metric system is overrated.

(That was sarcasm, by the way.)

It depends what you are measuring; for height i'm pretty sure it is standard, as last time I checked I didn't say I was 175cm tall...

Samboini said,
It depends what you are measuring; for height i'm pretty sure it is standard, as last time I checked I didn't say I was 175cm tall...

I've heard plenty of Europeans talk about their height in centimeters.

HawkMan said,
if only the US would use a sensible system like metrics :)

... especially since the US talked much of the rest of the world into converting to metrics, and then decided it'd be too expensive to do so itself.

If you built 21,000 single-family homes on 640 acres they would probably average about one, maybe two rooms. The lot for each house would be about 1,350 sq ft, the average for the past few years is 6,429 sq ft. That would mean the house would have to be quite a bit smaller than that, unless you plan on building multi-level shanty towns with no grass, trees, roads, and sidewalks.

I do NOT want you building anything around where I live.

rob.derosa said,
what... the solar plant is going to be 640 acres.. they arent building houses!

Post #4 was supposed to be a reply to post #3, not directly to the article.

I suppose the fact that it will stop more than 670 million kilograms of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere is not enough?

That is how much a comparative coal-fuelled power station could generate over it's average lifespan of 75.

Lt-DavidW said,
I suppose the fact that it will stop more than 670 million kilograms of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere is not enough?

That is how much a comparative coal-fuelled power station could generate over it's average lifespan of 75.

Not that I am saying this solar station is bad but what about the amount of CO2 that would be taken out of the air with 640 acres of forest. (or other plants) At this amount of space you'd have to cover the entire planet to create enough power for all of us.

this is why you should build nuclear
shed loads of power
absolutley zero emissions

who cares about a bit of radioactive waste :p


and even that wont be a problem (aside from radioactive deuterium which has a half life of a few years) with fusion.. this is where the money should be going

RAINMAN said,

Not that I am saying this solar station is bad but what about the amount of CO2 that would be taken out of the air with 640 acres of forest. (or other plants) At this amount of space you'd have to cover the entire planet to create enough power for all of us.

I was watching Discover or The Science channel a few months ago and there was a statement that if we covered 10% of Nevada with either solar or wind turbines we could power the entire country. My thought then is; let's do it. Now maybe;
a) I heard incorrectly.
b) The person speaking was being overly generous.

However, if not. I cannot see a reason to not create the solar/wind farm.

Peace,
James

it fails to cover the carbon dixoid and other bad stuffgenerated from creating these solar panels though.

The Nevada thing, yeah, but the problem is that that's calculated by using every square inch, every square inch of Nevada can't be used, and you also need space between the anels.AND that's a ridiculous amount of panels, and they are allready expensive to produce and there is a lack of the materials they need to make them, hence the price.

HawkMan said,
it fails to cover the carbon dixoid and other bad stuffgenerated from creating these solar panels though.

The Nevada thing, yeah, but the problem is that that's calculated by using every square inch, every square inch of Nevada can't be used, and you also need space between the anels.AND that's a ridiculous amount of panels, and they are allready expensive to produce and there is a lack of the materials they need to make them, hence the price.

Someone enlighten me. What is the byproduct of solar cells?

And, please note that it was not stated that the WHOLE of Nevada, but 10%. So if it takes 10% of cells but the cell holders take another 1/2 of that space, then we are talking 15% of Nevada. However, again the point is, in this argument, why not create the cells. Please send me some info, a link, etc where there are negative byproducts. Wikipedia does not mention any (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell) however I do understand that Wikipedia is not the source for all infomation. Whereas, there is known proof that fosil fuels and nuclear do have harmful byproducts. So, I'm listening.

Well current gen solar panels are created using large aounto of silica, same stuff, or the same stuff as CPU's wich is created using quite un.enviromentally friendly methods.

HawkMan said,
Well current gen solar panels are created using large aounto of silica, same stuff, or the same stuff as CPU's wich is created using quite un.enviromentally friendly methods.

yeah but its made from sand. we have a little bit of that left last time i checked. and i highly doubt the amount of waste generated from enough solar panels to cover 15% on nevada is more then waste generated from curent energy sources over the next 20 years. hell, the next 10 years.


however, further up had it right on the button. Nuclear power is by far the best option curently. but for some reason everyone gets cought up on the island and Chernobyl incidents. the general public cant seem to grasp the fact that stupid people running large facilities is a recipe for disaster. you cant just turn off the safety mechanisms to "see what happens".

Nose Nuggets said,

yeah but its made from sand. we have a little bit of that left last time i checked. and i highly doubt the amount of waste generated from enough solar panels to cover 15% on nevada is more then waste generated from curent energy sources over the next 20 years. hell, the next 10 years.


however, further up had it right on the button. Nuclear power is by far the best option curently. but for some reason everyone gets cought up on the island and Chernobyl incidents. the general public cant seem to grasp the fact that stupid people running large facilities is a recipe for disaster. you cant just turn off the safety mechanisms to "see what happens".

As far as I was aware it isn't the silica which is the problem, it is the key ingredient in the solar panels which enables this all to work; iirc it is some rare earth that there is v. little of on the planet?

jameswjrose said,

I was watching Discover or The Science channel a few months ago and there was a statement that if we covered 10% of Nevada with either solar or wind turbines we could power the entire country. My thought then is; let's do it. Now maybe;
a) I heard incorrectly.
b) The person speaking was being overly generous.

However, if not. I cannot see a reason to not create the solar/wind farm.

Peace,
James

It was probably using the 'most efficient' technology at that time. IIRC, the current generation of solar cells only have a 4% efficiency, which is very inefficient vs. space used. The best technology out there gets around 24% IIRC but its cost are very high.

Imagine if the $500billion wasted on the Iraq war was used to develop renewable energy. Solar cells would probably be sitting at a robust 70% rather than a piddly 24%. We would have fusion power which would produce an abundance of Hydrogen for cars. All of this could have been had it not been wasted on a war in Iraq.

Better still, hydrogen cars and being able to tell the middle east to go rotate on the big finger.

1). The technology is still new and it will get more and more efficient in the future.
2). It's not pointless because once you build it, you have pretty much no other costs but maintenance. It's free energy. Just calculate how much those 21,000 homes would have to pay for conventional electricity. This solar power plant can charge 10 times less than that and still be profitable after capital costs (costs to build the plant) have been repaid.

granted the price tag for this farm is in the hundreds of millions. however, i dont think we should really be minding the cost anymore. the 'out-the-gate' price on this crap should be moot when you look at the big picture. if teh gvt/private equity firm spent 3 billion on solar power, you could power a few million homes and probably increase the effectiveness of the product at least one fold during production. but why the hell would the gvt take attention away from a lucrative buisiness like oil? they wont. and why wont a private equity firm flip the bill? because the margins are too low and there could be potentially no return. does the overall benefit of the human race come into play, hell no.

that high altitude wind stuff is cool too. like a thousand kites flying at 1K feet produce some insane amount of power from the high speed wind.

Nose Nuggets said,
granted the price tag for this farm is in the hundreds of millions. however, i dont think we should really be minding the cost anymore. the 'out-the-gate' price on this crap should be moot when you look at the big picture. if teh gvt/private equity firm spent 3 billion on solar power, you could power a few million homes and probably increase the effectiveness of the product at least one fold during production. but why the hell would the gvt take attention away from a lucrative buisiness like oil? they wont. and why wont a private equity firm flip the bill? because the margins are too low and there could be potentially no return. does the overall benefit of the human race come into play, hell no.

that high altitude wind stuff is cool too. like a thousand kites flying at 1K feet produce some insane amount of power from the high speed wind.

Well if you figure my electric bill is 200+ and lets just say 21,000 x 200 is 4,200,000 so it is a big deal 21 thou homes is a **** load that will power my whole town of 40,000+.

Zhivago said,
2). It's not pointless because once you build it, you have pretty much no other costs but maintenance. It's free energy. Just calculate how much those 21,000 homes would have to pay for conventional electricity. This solar power plant can charge 10 times less than that and still be profitable after capital costs (costs to build the plant) have been repaid.

Solar power costs 2-5x as much as conventional power for a reason. You cant charge 10 times less because it would take 100 years to pay off the cost of the plant + maintenance. By that time the cells will have dropped in efficiency.

The technology needs to evolve more before it can begin to compete.