Moura, Portugal [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The first stone for the 62-megawatt (MW) solar panel plant that ACCIONA plans to build in Moura, Portugal, was placed by Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, marking Phase 1 of ACCIONA’s planned photovoltaic (PV) solar plant.The facility represents an investment of Euros 257 million [US$328 million], will produce panels equivalent to an annual capacity of 24 MW and is scheduled to be operational in December 2007. The first part of the overall project at Moura includes the construction and entry into service of a photovoltaic solar plant (property of ACCIONA) with 42 MW in a first phase and 62 MW in a second. ACCIONA Solar will carry out the turnkey construction of the plant. The photovoltaic solar plant will cover a surface area of 114 hectares in its first phase and will be divided into two zones: one with fixed solar structures (9,412) that will support 188,420 PV panels producing 32 MW, and another with ACCIONA technology solar trackers. This zone will have 10 MW distributed in 700 trackers with 52,000 PV panels. The first phase of the solar power plant (Euro 173.9 million/US$222 million) will begin in January 2007 and will be completed by September 2008. The second phase (20 MW with an investment of Euro 83.7 million/US$107 million) is planned to begin in 2009 and end in 2010. By then the plant could produce 91 million kilowatt-hours (kWh). This agreement represents the first international participation by ACCIONA in the field of photovoltaic solar energy, a sector that is growing worldwide at between 30% and 40% a year. In Europe the sector grew by over 50% in 2005 to 1,793 MW as a result of projects entering service on a large scale in Germany. In Spain, the second European country in terms of implementation, the growth rate was also above 50% last year.