Skip to Content

Large Photovoltaic Plant Announced

A sprawling solar farm is planned for sunny central Washington State.
July 10, 2009

A private investment group called Teanaway Solar Reserve says that it plans to build a massive 75-megawatt solar facility that will sprawl over some 400 acres in Cle Elum, WA, a rural area about 80 miles east of Seattle. The solar farm will be by far the largest in the Northwest, and much larger than any existing photovoltaic plant anywhere. (A 60-megawatt plant in Spain now holds the world record, while a 14-megawatt photovoltaic facility at Nellis Air Force Base, in Nevada, is the largest photovoltaic facility in the United States.) However, the solar facility in Washington is only one of several larger photovoltaic plants that have been recently announced, including several in California that would exceed 200 megawatts; a 60-megawatt plant is planned for Chicago.

Washington appears to be an odd location for a solar plant. While central Washington is, unlike Seattle, actually quite sunny–Howard Trott, Teanaway’s managing director, estimates that the location has 300 sunny days a year–it is also home to some of the country’s cheapest electricity because of its hydroelectric capacity. However, Trott says, Washington’s consumers will favor photovoltaic-generated electricity because it is “very green,” and they will pay a premium for it, “which will make us profitable.”

Trott declined to disclose many financial details of the project or his company except to say that the costs of the solar farm will likely “run north of a hundred million.” His plan calls for a solar producer to build a manufacturing facility at the site to provide the 400,000 panels that the solar farm will need. Trott, who acknowledges that he has no previous experience in the solar industry, says that it has not yet been decided whether the new solar facility will use conventional silicon solar cells or thin-film photovoltaics. Indeed, it is still very early days for the private solar company and its Washington project. Says Trott: “Yesterday, we rented an office.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

seeing is believing concept
seeing is believing concept

Our brains exist in a state of “controlled hallucination”

Three new books lay bare the weirdness of how our brains process the world around us.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.