Rooftop-mounted solar power plants are relatively small in terms of area coverage and installed capacity compared to ground-mounted installations. This is because they are normally installed on the roofs of homes as well as commercial buildings and structures.
However, did you know that there are MW-scale rooftop-mounted stations? That’s right. There are over 50 rooftop-mounted solar power plants in the world with the capacity to produce megawatts of energy. Some can produce as much as 30+MW, more than some hydro, ground-mounted solar, wind, thermal, and coal power plants.
Here is our pick of the world’s largest rooftop-mounted solar power plants (with over 10MW nominal power capacity).
1. Tesla Factory rooftop solar facility in Nevada
The battery, solar, and EV maker’s Gigactory in Nevada is the world’s largest building by footprint. In 2018, it was announced that the facility’s rooftop, which is about 43 acres, would be fitted with roughly 100,000 solar panels. The solar panels would have a capacity of approximately 32.5MW.
At the moment, solar panels with a capacity of about 8MW are installed and operational with more still coming up.
2. Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ Falken Tyres plant rooftop solar facility in Rayong, Thailand
This is a planned 22MW facility in Rayong Province, about 50km southeast of Bangkok. It will comprise a total of 40,000 panels on approximately 100,000 sqm.
The facility is set for completion in January 2025. It will be the world’s largest array on a single facility.
3. Apple Park rooftop solar facility in Cupertino, California
Monterey County and First Solar developed the Apple Park rooftop solar facility which has a nominal power of 17MW. The 175-acre campus was opened to employees in April 2017, while construction was still underway.
4. Permacity / LADWP rooftop solar facility on a warehouse in Westmont Ave, San Pedro
The facility covers an area of 50 acres on the roof of a warehouse in Westmont Ave, San Pedro, with more than 50,000 solar panels. It was built by L.A.-based PermaCity and developed by the building owner BlackRock. The financial partners were True Green Capital and GAF.
The 16.4 MW facility produces more than 28 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. This is enough renewable energy to power nearly 5,000 homes.
5. Arvind Limited’s Santej plant rooftop solar facility in India
With a capacity of 16.2MW, this is the largest solar rooftop plant in India at single industrial premises. It consists of over 46,000 solar modules spread over 40,000 square meters of roofs.
In addition to the solar modules, the facility features a total of over 180 inverters. Arvind Limited developed Arvind Limited’s Santej rooftop solar facility in India.
6. Zaragoza General Motors rooftop solar facility in Spain
This was installed at General Motors Spanish Zaragoza Manufacturing Plant in the fall of 2008 by Sunlogics. It covers an area of 2,000,000 square feet of roof and comprises about 85,000 solar panels.
The facility has a capacity of 11.8MW and an annual output of 15.1m kilowatt hours (kWh). This is reportedly enough to meet the needs of 4,600 households with an average consumption of 3,300kWh, or power 1/3 of the GM factory.
The facility was built by Veolia Environment and Clairvoyant Energy.
7. Rooftop solar facility at Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas
The 11.5 MW solar energy plant sits on approximately 42 acres of the roof at the spiritual campus of Dera Baba Jaimal Singh on the outskirts of Beas town of Amritsar.
The plant was developed by Radha Soami Satsang Beas Educational and Environmental Society (RSSBEES), in technical collaboration with Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA). It was commissioned by Tata Power Solar over a period of six months.
Reportedly, it generates about 27 million units of electricity per annum. This is enough to cater to the electricity needs of approximately 8,000 households
8. Rooftop solar power plant at Gloucester Marine Terminal in Gloucester City
This is a 1.1 million-square-foot rooftop solar power plant installed on the roof of the Terminal’s refrigerated warehouse near the Walt Whitman Bridge on the Delaware River.
The facility, which has an installed Nominal Power capacity of 10.1 MWp, was developed by Gloucester Marine Terminal in conjunction with SunPower Corporation. It features approximately 27,528 photovoltaic rooftop solar panels with a capacity roughly enough to power 1,500 homes or nearly 80 percent of the Terminal’s power demand.
The facility is the largest of its kind in North America.
9. Whirlpool Corporation Regional Distribution Center rooftop solar facility in Perris, California
With a capacity of 10.0MW, this facility was installed on the rooftop of the Whirlpool Corporation Regional Distribution Centre in Perris. The project was carried out in 2011 by Southern California Edison.
The utility company installed approximately 32,700 panels that now produce enough energy to serve about 5,200 Southern California homes.
Some of the featured rooftop-mounted solar power plants are installed on a single site while others are scattered on multiple premises. In addition, some others have already been commissioned and are operational, while others are underway or in the pipeline.