View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Analysis
August 20, 2019updated 29 Jul 2020 9:26pm

The world’s longest running solar farm

A look at the Solar Energy Generating Systems in California, the world’s longest-running solar farm.

By Jack Unwin

Solar power made up nearly 500GW of capacity worldwide at the end of 2018, just over 4% of the world’s energy mix.  Solar power is particularly prominent in China, the global leader in solar panel production and the US state of California.

Free Report
img

Delve into the renewable energy prospects for Morocco

In its new low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission strategy to 2050, submitted to the United Nations (UN), the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development (MEM) of Morocco suggested to raise the share of renewable capacity in the country’s total power installed capacity mix to 80%.   Morocco currently aims to increase the share of renewables in total power capacity to 52% by 2030. The new strategy plans to increase the share of renewable capacity to 70% by 2040 and 80% by 2050.  GlobalData’s expert analysis delves into the current state and potential growth of the renewable energy market in Morocco. We cover: 
  • The 2020 target compared to what was achieved 
  • The 2030 target and current progress 
  • Energy strategy to 2050 
  • Green hydrogen 
  • Predictions for the way forward  
Download the full report to align your strategies for success and get ahead of the competition.   
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

Solar power has been so successful in California that on particularly sunny day’s power is offloaded to neighbouring states in case it overloads the state’s power lines. Meanwhile the Chinese solar industry has benefited from outsourcing from Europe and government subsidies, until those were halted in 2018.

This technology had to start somewhere and did so with the Lugo solar farm in San Bernadino County, California in December 1982. This facility has since closed, which begs the question, what is the world’s longest-running solar farm?

Solar Energy Generating Systems

Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) is a group of nine geothermal solar farms in the Mojave Desert in California, and is the world’s longest-operating solar plant still in commercial production.

The development of the solar farms was staggered throughout the 1980s, with SEG I and II constructed in 1986. These were followed by SEGS III-VII in 1988 and VIII and IX in 1990, which boast a production capacity of 150MW and 160MW respectively.

A major fire took place at SEG II in February 1999 after a storage tank on the site exploded and burnt for hours, forcing the evacuation of a half-square-mile area around the facility. The fire was so strong that efforts to put it out were described as being akin to: “putting out a house fire with a garden hose” by local firefighters, and the episode cast doubts over the future of the plant.

SEG I and II ceased production as geothermal solar farms in 2014 before being recommissioned as photovoltaic (PV) solar farms in 2017, with a joint capacity of 33.8MW and owned by California-based Sunray Energy.

SEG III-IX are owned by energy company NextEra Energy Resources, which notes that its operations cover an area of 1,500 acres and is formed of over 900,000 mirrors to create energy. It is also able to offset 3,800 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

As a geothermal solar plant, the panels capture sunlight to heat a synthetic oil called therminol which heats water to create steam, which is then piped to a turbine-generator to produce electricity. NextEra says that the plant can still generate electricity on cloudy days, as it has backup natural gas systems that heat the water to create steam instead.

With a capacity of 354MW, the solar farm was once amongst the largest in the world in 2013 before it was superseded by more modern solar farms. In total, SEGS generates around 662-gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. This energy generated from SEGS is sold to electricity provider Southern California Edison through a power purchase agreement.

Solar power in California

California is the leading state in the US for solar power, with 25GW installed at the end of 2018 according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

The 25GW is formed from nearly one million installations across the state, and is enough to power over six million homes in the state alone. A further 15GW is expected to be added in the next five years. In total, solar power provides California with 19% of its electricity needs.

As well as being the state leader in solar power, California aims to be a leader in renewable energy, with Governor Jerry Brown committing the state to obtaining 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2045.

Solar power will play a major role in this transformation, with SEGS now being overtaken by PV solar farms such as the 550MW Topaz solar farm in San Luis Obispo and the 550MW Desert Sunlight solar farm in Riverside County.

Related Companies

Free Report
img

Delve into the renewable energy prospects for Morocco

In its new low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission strategy to 2050, submitted to the United Nations (UN), the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development (MEM) of Morocco suggested to raise the share of renewable capacity in the country’s total power installed capacity mix to 80%.   Morocco currently aims to increase the share of renewables in total power capacity to 52% by 2030. The new strategy plans to increase the share of renewable capacity to 70% by 2040 and 80% by 2050.  GlobalData’s expert analysis delves into the current state and potential growth of the renewable energy market in Morocco. We cover: 
  • The 2020 target compared to what was achieved 
  • The 2030 target and current progress 
  • Energy strategy to 2050 
  • Green hydrogen 
  • Predictions for the way forward  
Download the full report to align your strategies for success and get ahead of the competition.   
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. The top stories of the day delivered to you every weekday. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Wednesday. The power industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU

Thank you for subscribing to Power Technology