Largest solar panel plant in US rises in Fla. - Yahoo! News They just finished the largest solar power station in the US. 25MW for $150,000,000 on 180 acres. Thats just absurd. I do consulting for some of the largest power utilities in the world. Here are some stats for context. Based on this project, the solar facility has a cost of roughly $6,000,000 per MW. The most expensive steam generating plant costs AT MOST $2,500 per MW. It takes about 7 to 8 acres of land to generate a single MW of electricity. 7 acres.... Not only that, but as for the payback goes, this $150 million station will produce about $2 million worth of power per year (assuming a generous wholesale cost of 3 cents per kW-hr). We will all be dead before this operation shows a profit. If you built a facility like this in every state, it still wouldnt even produce as much power as a single nuclear reactor. I know its hard for for people to conceptualize how much electricity a MW is, but the entire generating capacity of the US is 1,087,791 MWs. A megawatt is nothing... The fact of the matter is that solar can never replace a significant portion of the US power capacity. Not only are the economics of it shitty, but its simply not possible to get solar to generate a material amount of our energy needs. Not unless you want to go back to candlelight. Another interesting power fact. To get solar (and/or wind) to 20% of our total capacity, we would need every steam gen plant in the country to be re-powered and not shut down so that they can be used to provide power when solar and wind cant run do to environmental factors or when we are in a situation that would need extra power. To get renewables to 33% of our total capacity, we would need roughly 40% additional steam capacity. These news articles make everything sounds great, but when you know the energetics of our power system, it is simply not feasible. Thoughts?