What are Solar Farms? Are They Different from Solar Power Plants? Ask Solar Mango

What is a solar farm?

A solar farm is a collection of solar arrays on unimproved land for the purpose of generating power from the sun’s energy. Large commercial photovoltaic solar farms typically use hundreds or thousands of PV panels covered to convert the sun’s rays into electricity.

How a Solar Farm works?

  • Using vacant land, often what might be considered farmland, and a mass of solar panels, a solar farm converts solar energy into electric power. The generated power is sent back into the electric grid. The local electricity company pays the owner for the generated power
  • Pros: Low maintenance, increased output, tax incentives
  • Cons: Land space, aesthetics, initial cost and setup time

How solar farm is different from a solar power plant?

  • Are solar farms different from conventional solar power plants in terms of technology or output? Not really. Technically, solar farms are not any different from simple solar power plants, except for their sizes.
  • A solar farm takes advantage of a large tract of land to generate and sell electricity to the local utility at a profit
  • A solar PV power plant may be limited to roof space, architectural constraints, and the problem of aesthetics. Vast expanses of unimproved land can be utilized as solar farms, where only start up and operational costs govern the scale of the operation.
  • Some of the world’s largest solar farms

  • Solar Star is a 579 MW near Rosamond, California and it is currently the world’s largest solar farm using 1.7 million solar panels and spread over 13 square kms (3,200 acres).
  • Topaz Solar Farm is a 550 MW photovoltaic power station in San Luis Obispo County, California.
  • The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is a 550 MW PV solar farm at California, in the Mojave Desert.

Conclusion

Solar farm is the name given to large, ground mounted solar power plants. Usually, the electricity generated from solar farms is huge, in tens or hundreds of millions of units a year. A 100 MW solar farm for instance can generate about 150 million units of electricity in a year. A small rooftop solar power plant of 1 kW, in comparison, generates just about 1500 units in a year. Size does matter doesn’t it? That’s why large solar power plants also have a name of their own!

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