North Carolina–based Cogentrix Energy’s 30-MW concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) Alamosa Solar Generating plant, located in the San Luis Valley, Colo., began operating last week. The project has been called the “world’s largest” facility of its type to date.

The Alamosa Solar project site is approximately 225 acres and consists of more than 500 dual-axis, pedestal-mounted tracker assemblies, each capable of producing approximately 60 kW of electricity from the sun. Each tracker assembly is 70 feet wide by 50 feet high and contains 7,560 Fresnel lenses that concentrate sunlight by a multiple of 500 onto multifunction solar cells developed originally as part of the U.S. space program. Construction of the facility was contracted to M.A. Mortenson Co.

Power produced by the solar plant will be bought by Xcel Energy subsidiary Public Service Co. of Colorado. “The San Luis Valley was chosen for its outstanding sunlight characteristics, high elevation and an ability to easily deliver the solar project’s output to the utility transmission system,” Cogentrix said in a statement.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Convert Italia and solar module maker Solaria Corp. announced they had begun operating in Puglia, Italy, what they called the largest low-concentrating solar PV power plant in the world.

Convert Italia’s 2-MW plant uses that company’s MX1 horizontal tracking system and Solaria’s advanced low concentration PV modules. Convert Italia said it is building two similar plants using the Solaria modules.

“Solaria’s innovative modules are a perfect fit with our Convert MX1 tracker,” said Giuseppe Moro, president of Convert Italia. “Tracking systems, which follow the sun’s transit across the sky, increase sunlight capture, generating up to 30% more electricity than fixed PV arrays.”

Sources: POWERnews, Cogentrix, Convert Italia