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Largest Solar Project in the World Goes From Strength to Strength in US

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The largest solar project in the world, First Solar’s Agua Caliente photovoltaic installation under construction in Arizona, is going from strength to strength and reporting a peak generating capacity of 250 MW .

The facility which is owned by NRG Energy and MidAmerican Solar, when complete in 2014 and connected to the grid, will have a total generating capacity of  290 MW.

Commercial operation began in January this year, following the installation of the first solar photovoltaic modules in the summer of 2011.

To begin with, 30 MW of clean electricity was generated, which increased to 100 MW in the spring and then reached over 200 MW in the summer.

“The Agua Caliente project exemplifies how utility-grade solar PV power can be rapidly deployed in a phased approach and seamlessly integrated into the electrical grid,” says Jim Tyler of First Solar.

20 large solar projects have been completed in the US representing 477 MW in the second quarter of this year.

According to research from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the US has seen its second best quarter in history, with total installations reaching 742 MW.

The report US Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2012, says that at the moment the market is set to stay strong throughout the rest of the year with 3400 MW utility photovoltaic projects under construction.

With prices down as estimated 10% on the previous quarter, GTM Research is predicting an additional 1.1 GW of utility-scale photovoltaic power to go into operation by the end of the year.

The predictions, if accurate, would mean 3.2 GW of newly installed photovoltaic capacity by the end of 2012, up over 70% on 2011.

“The US solar industry is rapidly growing and creating jobs across America despite the slow economic recovery,” comments Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Smart, consistent, long-term policy is driving the innovation and investment that’s making solar a larger share of our overall energy mix.”

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