Early January saw one of the world’s largest solar power plants in Neustadt, Germany join the electrical grid. A total of 2 MW of environmentally-friendly electricity will be generated over an area of some 70,000 meters squared (7 hectares) – corresponding to the size of seven soccer fields. Developers said it is large enough to continuously power 700 households.Neustadt, Germany – January 22, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] At the heart of this project are around 7,000 high-output ASE-300-DG-FT modules made by RWE Schott Solar. The company said these modules were rated “best of its class” by the German consumer watchdog Stiftung Warentest in 1999. “With our entry into the renewable energy sector, we expect to make a long term contribution to clean energy supply,” said Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the management board at Schott Glas. The modules are attached to gabions, special baskets filled with stone that are considered ecologically valuable biotopes. The plant will be run by Pfalzsolar GmbH, a 50:50 joint venture between RWE Schott Solar GmbH and Pfalzwerke Projektbeteiligungsgesellschaft mbH based in Neustadt. Pfalzsolar is responsible for the planning, installation and financing of the photovoltaic (PV) systems. The Neustadt project is the first for this company and was planned and installed on a former military base in a record time of just 6 months. The particularly pleasant summer last year provided operators of solar plants with an average 10 percent higher yield. The Neustadt location – in one of Germany’s winegrowing regions – promises continual profitability, as the average solar radiation is well above 1,000 kWh per meter squared each year. There are also sunny times ahead for solar PV in the German political arena. Due to the widespread consensus regarding PV as part of the law governing renewable energies, a solid political basis has been created for the solar energy sector.