33 MW of new utility-scale solar energy capacity were installed in the United States during the month of April. This total includes 17 MW from the first phase of the Yuma Foothills Solar Power Plant, 5 MW from the Celina Solar project I in Ohio, and 4.2 MW from two projects in California, among others. The US now possesses an impressive 5.14 GW of total solar energy capacity.
The 17 MW of capacity supplied by the aforementioned Foothills Solar Power Plant accounts for more than half of the new solar capacity installed during April. The project is currently being developed by the Arizona Public Services Co. in Yuma, Arizona, and will see its capacity roughly doubled by this time next year, following the construction of the second phase. The second phase will add a further 18 MW of capacity, and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
5 MW of the new capacity was provided the Celina Solar project I Mercer County, Ohio. The project was developed by SolarVision LLC, and will provide about 8% of the city of Celina’s electricity.
PV Magazine provides further details:
Light Beam Energy Inc. went online with two projects totalling 4.2 MW in Butte County, California. Light Beam’s 1.7 MW Gridley Main One Solar scheme will supply power to the city of Gridley and the 2.5 MW Main Two project will sell energy to San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit.
Warsaw Solar 2 LLC connected the 2 MW Warsaw Solar 2 project in Duplin County, North Carolina, which will sell energy to Progress Energy Carolinas and Hannon Strong Solar LLC added 1.4 MW with its project to power US Army Fort Bliss in El Paso County, Texas to round off the new build generation schemes totalling 29.6 MW.
The last 3.4 MW was from the expansion of three previously constructed projects.
As of the end of April, 2013, the US has seen the installation of 845 MW of new solar energy capacity, a significant jump over the same period last year — which saw 348 MW installed.
And something to note — while 5.14 GW of total solar energy generating capacity is impressive when taken on its own, it only represents 0.44% of the US’s total energy generation…. A significant increase in the rate of installation will be needed to stem the worst of the effects predicted from future climate change, or even for that matter to keep up with the rest of the world. Germany and China, among other countries, are both transitioning away from fossil fuels relatively quickly — it wouldn’t be intelligent for us to let ourselves fall too far behind.