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Photovoltaic power
worldwide GWp
2000 1
2005 5
2010 40
2011 70
2012 99
2013 136
Year end capacities
Nellis Solar Power Plant at Nellis Air Force Base in the USA. These panels track the sun in one axis.
Photovoltaic system "tree" in Styria, Austria

Photovoltaics (PVs) are arrays of cells containing a solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation or energy from the sun into direct current electricity. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years, and costs have dropped.[1][2][3]

Solar photovoltaics is growing rapidly, from a small base, to a total global capacity of 130,000 MW at the end of 2013. More than 100 countries use solar PV.[4] Installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing)[5] or built into the roof or walls of a building.

World's largest PV power stations

World's largest photovoltaic power stations (50 MW or larger)
Photovoltaic power station Country Site co-ordinates Nominal
Notes and references
Topaz Solar Farm[8][9] USA 35°23′N 120°4′W / 35.383°N 120.067°W / 35.383; -120.067 (Topaz Solar Farm) &&&&&&&&&&&&0500.&&&&&0500 installed capacity as of June 2014.[10] toward final capacity 550 MW
Desert Sunlight Solar Farm[11][12] USA 33°49′33″N 115°24′08″W / 33.82583°N 115.40222°W / 33.82583; -115.40222 (Desert Sunlight Solar Farm) &&&&&&&&&&&&0500.&&&&&0500 Commissioned since November 2013 toward final capacity 550 MW
Longyangxia Dam Solar Park[13][14][15] China 36°07′20″N 100°55′06″E / 36.12222°N 100.91833°E / 36.12222; 100.91833 (Longyangxia Dam Solar Park) &&&&&&&&&&&&0320.&&&&&0320 Completed December 2013
Solar Star I and II[16] USA &&&&&&&&&&&&0309.&&&&&0309 Under construction, 579MW when completed[17]
California Valley Solar Ranch[18] USA 35°20′N 119°55′W / 35.333°N 119.917°W / 35.333; -119.917 (California Valley Solar Ranch) &&&&&&&&&&&&0292.&&&&&0292[19][20] 399
Agua Caliente Solar Project[21] USA 32°57.2′N 113°29.4′W / 32.9533°N 113.49°W / 32.9533; -113.49 (Agua Caliente) &&&&&&&&&&&&0290.&&&&&0290[22][23] 626 completed April 2014[24]
Antelope Valley Solar Ranch[21][25][26] USA 34°46′N 118°25′W / 34.76667°N 118.41667°W / 34.76667; -118.41667 (Antelope Valley Solar Ranch) &&&&&&&&&&&&0266.&&&&&0266[27] 230 MWAC. Has received government loan guarantee[28]
Charanka Solar Park[29] India 23°54′N 71°12′E / 23.9°N 71.2°E / 23.9; 71.2 (Charanka Solar Park) &&&&&&&&&&&&0224.&&&&&0224[30] Collection of 17 co-located power plants, of which the largest is 25MW
Mesquite Solar project USA 33°20′N 112°55′W / 33.333°N 112.917°W / 33.333; -112.917 (Mesquite) &&&&&&&&&&&&0207.&&&&&0207 413 up to 700 MW when complete
Photovoltaic power plants

Solar Cells

A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is a device that changes light energy into electricity. Photovoltaics are best known as a method for making electricity by using solar cells to change energy from the sun into a flow of electrons. The photovoltaic effect was first noticed by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel in 1839. "Photovoltaic Effect". Retrieved 24 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Eric Seale (July 11, 2003). "Photovoltaic Effect". Retrieved 24 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Practically all photovoltaic devices are some type of photodiode.

Solar cells can be used to power tools or to recharge a storage battery. The first actual request of photovoltaics was to power orbiting satellites and other spacecrafts, but today the most photovoltaic modules are used for grid connected power creation. In this case a tool called an inverter is required to convert the direct current to alternating current. Cells require protection from the environment and are usually packaged tightly behind a glass sheet. When more power is required than a single cell can give off, cells are electrically connected together to form photovoltaic modules, or solar panels. A single module is enough to power an emergency telephone, but for a house or a power plant the modules must be arranged in multiples as arrays.


  1. German PV market
  2. BP Solar to Expand Its Solar Cell Plants in Spain and India
  3. Large-Scale, Cheap Solar Electricity
  4. REN21 (2011). "Renewables 2011: Global Status Report" (PDF). p. 22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. GE Invests, Delivers One of World's Largest Solar Power Plants
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  9. The Tribune: California Valley's Topaz Solar Farm now producing electricity
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  14. China Daily: World's largest solar-hydro power station getting connected to the grid
  15. SolarServer: CPI completes massive hybrid solar PV/hydro plant in Western China
  16. Solar Star Project, Japan DG Demand Drive SunPower's Q3, Forbes, 10/31/2014
  17. [1]
  18. Energy Division Resolution E-4229
  19. U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013, IREC, July 2014
  20. Meza, Edgar (27 June 2013). "NRG Energy completes 250 MW California Valley Solar Ranch". Solar Energy Industry Association. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  21. 21.0 21.1 RPS Project Status Table - February Update
  22. [ World's Largest Operational Solar PV Project,
  23. "First Solar Stops Installation at Agua Caliente Project". Bloomberg.
  24. World’s Biggest Solar PV Plant a Feather in DOE’s Cap, Pete Danko, greentechmedia, May 2, 2014
  25. "AV Solar Ranch One". NextLight Renewable Power LLC. 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Project Overview
  27. Hill, Joshua (22 Feb 2013). "Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One Achieves 100 Megawatt Milestone". Clean Technica. Retrieved Feb 2013.
  28. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named rew11.
  29. Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd
  30. India Pushes Ultra-Mega Scheme To Scale Solar PV, Forbes, William Pentland, 9/09/2014

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