Thereâ€™s a lot of talk out there saying that the solar industry is going through a shakeout right now. But although other solar players may be failing and faltering, First Solar just signed a second deal with Sempra Generation. Sempra is a utility that focuses on generating its power using natural gas, which is relatively clean as far as fossil fuels go, but also wants to provide electricity that comes from completely renewable sources.
Thatâ€™s why they recently hired First Solar to build them a 10 MW PV solar plant in Boulder City, Nevada. That plant was finished about four months ago, and now Sempra wants more. They are having First Solar expand the plant from 10 MW to a total of 58 MW by the end of 2010.
The spokespeople from Sempra and First Solar are making a point of mentioning that 58 megawatts will make this PV plant the â€“ surprise, surprise â€“ biggest in the US when completed. I joke only because boasting about the countryâ€™s biggest PV plant in 2009 is like boasting about the countryâ€™s tallest skyscraper in 1909, or the biggest hard drive in 1999; the best is yet to come, folks.
Which is not to snub First Solar or Sempra, of course. On the contrary â€“ we need this atmosphere of â€œkeeping up with the Jonesesâ€ if we want to continually raise the bar and constantly demand more powerful utility scale solar projects.
Speaking of such projects, hereâ€™s a cool Google Map that I found when searching for the aforementioned 10 MW plant (called the El Dorado plant). Earth2Tech has a similar map as well; in fact it looks like the first map incorporated some of Earth2Techâ€™s information.
Iâ€™m guessing neither map is complete, but it would be great if there were a complete one out there, updated with regular frequency and available for public viewing. In fact, the ideal map would allow me to see all kinds of renewable projects â€“ Iâ€™d click a button and switch to wind farms, etc. â€“ as well as all of the coal, gas, nuclear and hydro plants as well.
Iâ€™m primarily interested in such a map because it would give me geeky pleasure. But, as Iâ€™ve said before, I think that maps are important in general. And isnâ€™t it a little embarrassing that I can easily direct you to a Starbucks, Best Buy or Barnes & Noble near my house, but if you asked to see where my electricity, gas or water comes from I would shrug? (Ok, I do know where the water comes from, itâ€™s this beautiful reservoirâ€¦ but you get the point.)
So for all you alert readers, if you know of a good public online map showing all the power plants out there, let us know!
Via Green Biz
written by Fred, July 09, 2009
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