This is big news for the green building revolution, because a solar farm like this could power roughly 190k homes in California. Referred to as the Topaz Solar Farm, this $1 billion, 550-megawatt plant would cover roughly 9.5 square miles, and if constructed, would be the world’s largest photovoltaic solar farm. Hayward-based OptiSolar is developing plans for the project as we speak. According to their current time line, OptiSolar will apply for a conditional use permit in May 2008 and begin construction in 2010. Topaz Solar Farm would then be completed over three years.
OptiSolar manufactures the thin-film PV technology that would be used in Topaz Solar Farm. The solar panels are mounted on ballasts in the ground with the tops at less than five feet off the ground. Their particular design of solar cell uses a thin film of amorphous silicon, which allows the company to produce modules at a low cost and insulate itself from the current silicon supply crunch.
In addition to the Topaz Solar Farm, OptiSolar is working on various other large-scale solar projects around the world to provide roughly 90 MW of solar energy.