Obama swings through Nevada this morning and is stopping at the largest operational solar power plant in the U.S.

The mantle of the largest operational U.S. photovoltaic plant belongs to the 55-megawatt (DC) Sempra Copper Mountain solar facility in Boulder City, Nev., about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Construction at the 380-acre desert site began in January of 2010 with about 350 construction workers installing almost 775,000 First Solar solar panels.  First Solar also served as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor.

The Copper Mountain facility was built by Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). 

The power from Copper Mountain Solar and Sempra Generation’s nearby 10-megawatt El Dorado Solar plant has been sold to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) under separate 20-year contracts. Like power from the Hoover Dam, power produced at  Copper Mountain is exported to Southern California.

For a novel take on this project, here's Fox News likening this plant to Solyndra -- as they will everything related to solar from now on. Note that Copper Mountain is privately financed and did not receive any DOE loans.

Here's a table of operational PV power plants in the U.S.




Size (DC)

PV Tech


Copper Mountain Sempra NV 55 MWdc CdTe (FSLR) Sempra
Mesquite Solar One Sempra AZ 46 MWdc c-Si (STP) Sempra
San Luis Valley Iberdola CO 38 MWdc c-Si (SPWR) Iberdola
Long Island Solar Farm BP Solar NY 37 MWdc c-Si (BP) BP/MetLife
Agua Caliente Phase 1 First Solar AZ 34.5 MWdc CdTe (FSLR) NRG,MidAmerican
Cimarron 1 First Solar NM 34.5 MWdc CdTe (FSLR) Southern Co
Webberville Solar SunEdison TX 34 MWdc c-Si (Trina) Metlife/Longsol
DeSoto Next Gen Solar NextEra FL 28 MWdc c-Si (SPWR) NextEra
Stillwater Solar-Geothermal Enel Green NV 27.6 MWdc   Enel Green
Roadrunner Solar NRG Energy NM 25 MWdc CdTe (FSLR) NRG ENergy

(Megawatt values are in DC and we assume an 87% DC-to-AC derate factor for projects that are quoted in AC. Data from Greentech Media.)