During daylight hours, about 20 percent of the Kauai’s electricity will come from the Anahola project.
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative
While this is a big step for the Aloha state — as well as Kauai’s public utility co-op, the only utility in the state not owned by Hawaiian Electric Industries — the Anahola facility pales in comparison to the country’s largest solar power plants.
Indeed, from the behemoths like Solar Star to the community-based efforts like Kauai’s Anahola facility, utility-scale solar is making its mark across the country.
In 2014, the utility photovoltaic sector installed 3,939 megawatts — up 38 percent from 2013, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Below, take a look at the five biggest solar power plants (photovoltaic and concentrated solar thermal) in the U.S.
The Solar Star Projects — Antelope Valley, California
This 579-megawatt facility is the world’s largest photovoltaic power plant and generates enough electricity to power approximately 255,000 homes.
Topaz Solar Farm — San Luis Obispo County, California
The 550-megawatt facility, as pictured from space, produces enough electricity to power about 180,000 homes.
Desert Sunlight Solar Farm — Desert Center, California
Photovoltaic solar cells sit in the sun at the 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight Solar Farm during a dedication ceremony for the facility on Feb. 9 in Desert Center, California.
Copper Mountain Solar Complex — Boulder City, Nevada
President Barack Obama smiles while speaking at Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s Copper Mountain Solar 1 facility in 2012. The Copper Mountain photovoltaic complex collectively generates 458 megawatts, enough energy to power approximately 142,000 homes.
Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System — Mojave Desert, California
Two of the three units at the 392-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System are seen operating in the Mojave Desert in California near Primm, Nevada. The largest solar thermal power-tower system in the world, it uses 347,000 computer-controlled mirrors to focus sunlight onto boilers on top of three 459-foot towers, where water is heated to produce steam to power turbines providing power to more than 140,000 California homes.
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