It’s proving to be a record year for solar power in America. The country is set to have installed as much solar capacity in 2012 as it did in the entire last decade. And now, the U.S. is home to the largest photovoltaic power plant in the world.

Announcing today that it is currently generating 250 megawatts of power, Arizona’s Agua Caliente solar project expects to hit 290 megawatts by the time construction is complete in 2014.

While this means that Agua Caliente now beats out India’s Gujarat Solar Park for the title of the world’s largest solar plant, Gujarat is planning on going beyond its current 214 MW.  Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County, California is on its way to producing an ambitious 550 MW by early 2015.  Like Agua Caliente, First Solar is involved in that project as well.

Construction began in the fall of 2010, and the plant produced its first 30 megawatts in January.  ”The Agua Caliente project exemplifies how utility-grade solar PV power can be rapidly deployed in a phased approach and seamlessly integrated into the electrical grid,” said Jim Tyler, Vice President of Development Engineering in First Solar’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction Group. “We are extremely proud to set a new benchmark for the industry with Agua Caliente, which incorporates the knowledge gained over years of experience designing, building and operating utility-scale solar projects for leading utilities and energy providers.”

Though initially constructed by First Solar, Agua Caliente is now owned by NRG Solar and MidAmerican Solar.  The American taxpayer also has a stake in the plant’s success: it received financing through a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The plant’s success comes at a good time: the Republican-sponsored “No More Solyndras Act” comes up for a vote later this week.  It would make significant cuts in the Department’s Loan Guarantee program, which ironically was not an Obama creation. Rather, the program was established in 2005 under President George W. Bush.

Featured image via Martin D. Vonka/Shutterstock