The size of a solar project usually determines what is meant by “utility-scale solar.”A solar project is typically classified as utility-scale when it generates a minimum of 10 megawatts (MW) of energy. For example, the panda-shaped solar farm in Datong, China. The project covers 250 acres of land and produces 100 MW of solar energy. This amount can replace around 1 million tons of coal over the next 25 years.
It also refers to a solar project if the nameplate has a capacity of 1 million watts or 1 megawatt (MW), or has a solar energy capacity of at least 5 MW. Some institutions may require an even greater solar capacity, such as 20 MW.
The main goal of utility-scale solar power is to connect to the power grid and effectively sell the generated electricity directly to the local utility company.
Utility-Scale Solar Project Participants
The companies that purchase the generated power are commonly referred to as “off-takers”. They play a crucial role in the energy market. Other groups considered as participants in this are as follows:
- Contractors and installers
- Local government agencies
- Project developers and EPCs (engineering, procurement, construction)
- Project financiers
- Solar and energy storage equipment manufacturers
- Solar project owners
Benefits of Utility Scale Solar
It provides greater flexibility compared to rooftop solar. While rooftop solar is often limited in terms of where it can be installed, large-scale projects are situated in optimal locations with maximum sun exposure.
By expanding the project’s size, utility-scale projects offer the incredible advantage of incorporating battery storage. This revolutionary feature empowers us to generate electricity regardless of weather conditions, making it a truly reliable and sustainable solution.
By significantly expanding the utility-scale capacity, governments are essentially constructing the massive infrastructure required to replace current coal and natural gas power plants. These plants are not only generating excessive carbon emissions but also polluting our planet.
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