Residential photovoltaic systems often have a capacity of less than 10,000 watts, or 10 kW — which is usually enough to cover the needs of a single family. Commercial PV installations, on the other hand, are big and getting much bigger.
At a data center in Maiden, N.C., Apple says it has finished a 20-megawatt array that covers 100 acres of land and produces 42 million kWh of energy per year. The company is adding a second 20 MW array that’s expected to be operating by late this year plus a 10 MW fuel cell.
Apple says the PV system is the largest “end user owned” array in the country. In all, the company’s renewable energy production in Maiden will produce 167 million kWh of electricity a year, enough to power 17,600 homes.
In Mexico, an even bigger installation
In La Paz, Baja California Sur, a 30 MW solar project is expected to be finished by August, according to an article in Power Engineering International.
It is Mexico’s first utility-scale solar project to be built under an agreement between a private company and the country’s federal power company, the publication said.
The 132,000 PV modules will be able to produce 82 gWh of electricity per year and will cover about 240 acres (100 hectares) of land. It will be the biggest solar electric facility in Latin America.
Power Engineering International said Mexico’s total PV capacity is currently about 13 MW.
Get building science and energy efficiency advice, plus special offers, in your inbox.