An Israeli firm, Doral Renewables, has started work on the U.S.'s largest solar energy farm, dubbed Mammoth Solar, which will cover approximately 13,000 acres (5,261 hectares), a report from AP News reveals.
The new solar farm, which is expected to be fully operational by 2024, will span two northern Indiana counties, and the project will have a total cost of approximately $1.5 billion.
'An electrifying day'
The Mammoth Solar farm will be built across Starke and Pulaski's county lines, and the initial construction site will be in a rural area about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of South Bend. Doral Renewables is building the solar farm as part of an agreement with American Electric Power that will see it improve the Columbus, Ohio-based utility company's renewable energy capacity.
The State of Indiana Government held a ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new construction site, with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and other local officials attending. According to a press statement, the construction project will create 500 jobs, and that the finished, fully operational solar farm will create at least 50 new, full-time jobs. "It’s an incredibly electrifying day for the state of Indiana as we celebrate Doral Renewables' significant investment in the future of energy generation and the state of Indiana," said Gov. Holcomb.
Solar farms will get larger and larger in the coming years
The 13,000-acre Mammoth Solar farm will become partially operational by mid-2023 and it will start off producing 400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 75,000 households. As a point of reference, the world's largest solar panel farm currently is the 2.245-GW Bhadla Solar Park in India, at 5,700 hectares (14,000 acres). However, Australian firm Sun Cable is building a massive infrastructure project, spanning roughly 12,000 hectares (29,652 acres), which will send power to Singapore using an undersea cable.
The Mammoth Solar farm, which will have a total of 2.85 million solar panels, is expected to be fully operational by 2024, at which point it will generate a total of 1.65 gigawatts of electricity. With the IPCC's latest alarming report on climate change, and the COP26 conference this month, more and more large renewable infrastructure projects are likely to be greenlit, meaning the title of the world's largest solar farm will likely change hands several times in the coming years.