Massive Solar Power Plant Inaugurated

It's a great contribution. I'd say Portugal has the "right" attitude! http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8O59AS05.htm

The world's largest-producing solar power plant was inaugurated Wednesday in Portugal.

The 11-megawatt, 61 million euro ($78.5 million) plant, a joint project of U.S energy companies GE Energy Financial Services, PowerLight Corporation, and Portuguese renewable energy company Catavento, spreads across a 150-acre hillside in Serpa, 124 miles southeast of Lisbon.

Southern Portugal, one of the sunniest places in Europe, has as much as 3,300 hours of sunlight a year.

The new plant will produce enough power to supply 8,000 homes and will also prevent the emission of 30,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year when compared to fossil fuels.

The photovoltaic system it uses employs silicon solar cell technology to convert sunlight directly into electricity. It will produce 20 gigawatt hours of power per year.

Construction of the plant began in June 2006. It started working partially in January 2007.

The facility is owned by GE Energy Financial Services, and will be operated and maintained by PowerLight, which also designed it. Management services will be undertaken by Catavento, which developed the project.

"This project is successful because Portugal's sunshine is plentiful, the solar power technology is proven, government policies are supportive, and we are investing ... to help our customers meet their environmental challenges," said Kevin Walsh, managing director and leader of renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services.

"This is the most productive solar plant in the world, it will produce 40 percent more energy than the second largest one, Gut Erlasse in Germany," said Howard Wenger principal of Powerlight.

Piero Dal Maso, co-CEO of Catavento, said the project "serves as a beacon to the world to show how to overcome challenges of scale and complexity." Co-CEO Rui Pimenta said he hoped the government would clear remaining roadblocks "so solar power can truly radiate across Portugal."

Portugal is almost entirely dependent on imported energy, but is developing large wave and solar power projects and building wind farms to supply energy to some 750,000 homes.

It also is exploring new hydropower projects and plans to invest 8 billion euros ($10.8 billion) in renewable energy projects over the next five years.

Prime Minister Jose Socrates said in January that his Socialist government wanted 45 percent of Portugal's total power consumption to come from renewable sources by 2010.

Though it is a 12-megawatt plant, Gut Erlasse solar park in Bavaria produces less electricity because it is located at a higher latitude with less sun.


√čarithranduil said...

It is massive!
It is a good new for the enviroment... ;-)

cineylens said...

it's good news! thanks for sharing...take care and keep smiling:) and thank you, nia...for everything...you are sweet...:) best wishes always

azito said...

Como estas, Nia? ;)

I was pretty amazed that such plant was built in Portugal. The rest of European Union should follow the same example.

turtlebella said...

This is great!!! It also reminds me when I was talking to our guide in the Parque Arqueologico do Vale do Coa- he said the Portuguese always have to have the largest whatever (bridge, solar power plant, etc). And yes, the rest of the EU-not to mention the US!!!-should follow suit! However, I don't hold out much hope for my own country (US)...

Nia here! said...

Using available energy, sustainable energy, free to all energy...makes so much sense! We should all follow this example on any scale that we can...afterall it's people that make up communities and communities that make up nations. Thank you--all--for your comments. All the best, Nia. :)

Mauigirl said...

Great news for Portugal! Wish the U.S. would work on alternative energy sources like this.