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125 MW solar power plant to land in Arizona by end of 2013

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February 2, 2012

The sun rises over the Arizona desert, which will play host to the 125 MW AVSE II photovol...

The sun rises over the Arizona desert, which will play host to the 125 MW AVSE II photovoltaic solar power station (Photo: Jeff Turner)

Maricopa County, Arizona is set to play host to a 125 MW photovoltaic solar power plant, according to an announcement on Tuesday from Fluor Corporation. The company has won the separate contracts to build and maintain the facility, which upon completion will fleetingly join the ranks of the the world's largest photovoltaic solar farms. The project, known as Arlington Valley Solar Energy II (AVSE II) will be built on 1.8 square miles (4.7 sq. km) near to the Arlington Valley Combined Cycle Facility, a 577 MW natural gas plant also designed and built by Fluor.

"The State of California will benefit from the green energy delivered from the project as well as the solar panel sales from a San Diego-based manufacturer for a portion of the project," said John King, executive vice president of LS Power, who awarded the contract.

However, AVSE II will not be the world's largest photovoltaic installation. That honor remains with China's 200 MW Huanghe Hydropower Golmud Solar Park. If you broaden your criteria to encompass all forms of solar power, then the 354 MW Solar Energy Generating System in California's Mojave Desert takes the gong.

However, all of the above will be dwarfed come 2019, when China's 2 GW, 25 sq. mile (65 sq. km) photovoltaic plant, the Ordos Solar Project, is due for completion. India has four 1 GW photovoltaic projects at the planning stage, while the U.S. has ten or so photovoltaic plants (between 200 and 500 MW in size) under either planning or construction that are due to be completed at various intervals within the next five years. It won't be too long before 150 MW PV plants begin to sound small.

Though widely regarded as a general engineering corporation, this is not Fluor's first foray into renewable energy. Fluor designed and built the 500 MW Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm in UK waters, and proposed a 5 GW multi-tech solar plant in South Africa.

If all goes to plan Fluor Corporation should have AVSE II up and running by the end of 2013.

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
5 Comments

Awesome! I live in AZ and look forward to the jobs this brings as well as the clean energy.

The Tom
2nd February, 2012 @ 08:02 am PST

Ooooh 125MW..... big deal. My car can produce 1.21GW!

Great Scott!

Facebook User
2nd February, 2012 @ 11:59 am PST

I hope they don't suffer a hail storm.

Slowburn
2nd February, 2012 @ 01:30 pm PST

it's annoying to see "alternate energy" sources always quoted by their rated capacity.

125 mw would be fine, but that's (at least) twice what it will produce, even if the sun shines all-day-every-day in arizona. (there's the thing called "night", you see.)

or in the case of wind, not only does a windmill produce zero when there's no wind (obviously!), but it also shuts down when the wind speed exceeds its design (not so obvious). most windmills produce at about 15% of their rated capacity, if they're lucky, or even 10%.

that tiny, little factor makes solar and wind energy look far more effective (and attractive) than they really are. the real cost of 1 mw of power is actually 2 to 10 times higher, when you base it on realistic production numbers, rather than "rated capacity".

airhead
3rd February, 2012 @ 01:04 pm PST

t's annoying to see "alternate energy" sources always quoted by their rated capacity.

125 mw would be fine, but that's (at least) twice what it will produce, even if the sun shines all-day-every-day in arizona. (there's the thing called "night", you see.)

or in the case of wind, not only does a windmill produce zero when there's no wind (obviously!), but it also shuts down when the wind speed exceeds its design (not so obvious). most windmills produce at about 15% of their rated capacity, if they're lucky, or even 10%.

that tiny, little factor makes solar and wind energy look far more effective (and attractive) than they really are. the real cost of 1 mw of power is actually 2 to 10 times higher, when you base it on realistic production numbers, rather than "rated capacity".

Gowsith Karan
5th February, 2012 @ 06:49 am PST
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