Posted by: jbarnesca | December 15, 2009

Present And Announced 1.5-20MWp Solar PV Farms in US

For several reasons solar PV farms in the 1.5-20Mwp installed size range will provide the bulk of the distributed solar PV in the next few years in the United States.  The lower bound is chosen for the fact that this size is above the level that is elgible for state initiatives such as the California Solar Inititaive incentive program, and this will in general be at a level above that for commercial installations.

Other reasons for this size range include:

  • Simplified connection approvals for California rule 21 connection below the 2MWp level; however almost all distributed generation projects will jump to FERC SGIP rules for connection.
  • Understood, but complicated, FERC small generator connection procedures, SGIP, for sizes below 20MWp
  • Possible SGIP fast track process for plants <2MWp
  • Many of the recent FIT incentive and other new programs are creating programs in the <5MWp range
  • Being able to connect to a substation or a 69Kv transmission line for sizes greater than 5MWp is very hard
  • A 20MWp investment at the time of development is in the <$75M range, so financing is tough for larger farms

These issues and others make the activity in this range of most interest in the near term.

Participants in this range are extremely varied for the last two or so years with complex financing arrangements with multiple entities, a usual partnership flip ownership, and a continuing set of alliances with module suppliers, large EPC companies, multiple financing level companies. The recent involvement of the utilities themselves owning the large solar farms makes it more complex sometimes.

Determining who really is the owner/owners for these farms is quite hard to determine from the outside because of the complex financing structures.

It is however, instructive to get a sense of what is now operating, and what is announced to be operating in the next two years.

This spreadsheet is my take on the status as of Dec. 2009.  Of course I could have missed some relevent deals, so tell me if you know what is missing.  Contact me at to supply missing projects to the list.

Hope this is of interest to you out there !!

p.s. to my many European solar farm developer friends.  “Isn’t this list pitiful compared to what you have done and are planning for 2010”.  “Why is the US so far BEHIND you continually ask me?”

SunEdison Suntech 8.2 MW SunEdison-Xcel Energy Alamoso, CO 2007
MMA SunPower/+ 14.2 MW Renewable Ventures Nellis AFB, NV 2007
First Solar First Solar 10 MW Sempra Generation Boulder City, NV 2008
Conergy   5 MW Epuron/Conergy AG ? Fairless Hills, PA 2008
World Water & Solar Sharp 2 MW Renewable Ventures Denver Airport 2008
Entech  Sharp 2.4 MW Solar Power Partners Fresno airport 2008
Gregg Electric First Solar 2.4MW Southern Cal Edison Fontana, CA 2008
First Solar First Solar 22 MW NRG Energy Blythe, CA 2009
SunPower SunPower 25 MW Florida Power & Light DeSoto Co., FLA 2009
MMA   10.6 MW Green Energy Capital Partners Nesquehoning, PA 2009
SunEdison   1.2 MW SunEdison Wilmington, NC 2009
SunPower SunPower 10 MW Exelon Generation Chicago, IL 2009
World Water & Solar Sharp 1.1 MW Solar Power Partners for VCMWD @Valley Center, CA 2009
Quanta Services  Sharp 6.2 MW Cleantech America Mendota, CA  2009
SunEdison Q-Cells? 24 MW SunEdison Lakeland, FLA 2009
Silverwood Energy Solon 2MW PG&E Vacaville,CA  2009
Recurrent Energy Yingli 5MW Recurrent Energy SanFrancisco,CA 2009
Sky Power   9.1 MW SunEdison Stone Mills, Ont 2009
FirstSolar FirstSolar 30 MW Tri-State G&T Assoc Cimarron, NM 2010
Renewable Ventures Suntech 30 MW Gemini Solar Webberville, TX 2010
Clear Skies Solar   3MW Cavallo Energy Cantil,CA 2010
SunPower SunPower 17 MW Xcel Energy Alamoso, CO 2010
SunPower SunPower 10 MW Florida Power & Light   2010
American Capital Energy   20 MW American Capital Energy Searchlight, NV 2010
First Solar First Solar 48 MW Sempra Generation Boulder City, NV 2008
Juwi First Solar 10.08 MW Wyandot Solar(Juwi) Wyandot, OH 2010
SunEdison Q-Cells? 21.5MW SunEdison Davidson Co., NC 2010
Renewable Ventures   26MW Renewable Ventures Apex,NV 2010
Juwi   14MW Juwi San Antonio, Tx 2010
SunPower SunPower 25 MW Tampa Electric/Energy 5.0 Polk Co.,FLA 2011
Iberdrola   20MW SRP  Az 2011
Renewable Ventures   25MW Renewable Ventures Tucson, Az 2012


  1. We are setting up a 20 MW solar in India. Nice to read the post

  2. On the Fresno one, to take an example, which is 11.7 k panels. It is supposed to save 13 million over 20 years. I believe that airport may have taken advantage of 2 government incentive programs. I was discussing the profitability of non-gov-incentivized solar with a friend. Can you tell me the total $ amount of incentives for the Fresno Airport installation?

    If it is > 13 million, then it is not profitable, if it is less than 13 million there there is a payback period.

    If you have this info please share as I’m very curious – OR – mention in general the state of solar panels today as having any payback period at all if there were no government incentives.

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