World’s Largest Solar Photovoltaic System Commissioned

Bavaria Solarpark, the world’s largest solar electric system, was dedicated on June 30th in Muehlhausen, Germany. The project is fully constructed and operational with a total of 10 MW of power capacity and consists of three solar parks – in Muehlhausen, Guenching, and Minihof in Bavaria.

With 6.3 MW in Muehlhausen and 1.9 MW each in Guenching and Minihof, Bavaria Solarpark is comprised of a total of 57,600 photovoltaic panels. The solar electric system was designed and furnished by California-based PowerLight Corporation and uses the company’s PV tracking system that follows the sun as it moves across the sky throughout the day, producing more electricity than conventional fixed systems. The 49.5 million Euro (USD$ 59 million) project is financed by Deutsche Structured Finance (DSF) of Frankfurt, a special institute for structured finance. PowerLight served as the turnkey solar power system provider, with overall responsibility for the project’s development, design, construction, and service. The photovoltaic modules were produced by Sharp Electronics. Siemens AG provided all electrical construction and equipment, such as inverters. The solar power plant was built on fallow fields formerly used for agricultural purposes. The area, however, still provides ecological benefits; herds of Moorland sheep graze the pastures and keep the grass short under the solar electric panels and extensive vegetation areas were planted to enhance the integration of the project site into the surroundings. Bavaria Solarpark was financed by the Solar Energy Fund Bavaria, a closed fund from which private investors can currently still obtain shares. Under the German Renewable Energy Law (EEG), the fund benefits from a legally fixed payment for the produced power. “Solar electricity is an important and highly reliable source of power,” said Janine Schellhorn, Chief Managing Director of DSF. “Well-structured solar energy investments offer investors a solid investment with interesting after-tax yields. Additionally, they contribute to a sustainable energy future and environmental protection.” Together with PowerLight and Siemens, regional companies K&S Consulting, Max Boegl Group and Klebl GmbH worked on the development and construction of the solar parks. All three solar power plants began producing electricity during 2004. Interconnection to the electrical grid was secured by the regional German utility E.ON Bayern and E.ON Netz. The German EEG guarantees a 20-year power purchase for electricity produced from renewable energy sources. The dedication included numerous guests from the governmental, business, media, and regional communities. Honored guest Dr. Hermann Scheer, president of EUROSOLAR and Member of Parliament, affirmed in his speech that “photovoltaic energy is the most intelligent energy technology of all time. It establishes a new era of environmentally friendly, sustainable, independent, and cost-effective power for everybody.” Other dignitaries present included Takashi Tomita, corporate director, Sharp Corporation and Patricia Mulroy, general manager, Las Vegas Valley Water District. The world’s largest photovoltaic system further validates Germany’s forward-looking energy policies. Bavaria Solarpark -and similar projects like it- reinforce Germany’s leadership in deploying renewable energy. “During its anticipated lifetime -at least 20 years- the solar systems at all three solar parks will produce hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours of clean electricity,” said Tom Dinwoodie, CEO of PowerLight Corporation.
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