Eleven MW Solar Project Destined for Portugal

GE Energy Financial Services, PowerLight Corporation and Catavento Lda have selected a 150-acre south-facing slope in Serpa, Portugal, to build an 11 megawatt (MW) solar power plant, which will comprise 52,000 photovoltaic (PV) modules. Located 124 miles from Lisbon, and said to become the world’s largest solar PV power project, the plant is scheduled for operation by January 2007.

In a $75 million transaction, GE Energy Financial Services will finance and own the facility. PowerLight has designed and will operate and maintain this solar power plant using its PowerTracker system. Catavento, based in Portugal, developed the project and will provide management services. Construction will begin next month on the hillside that will reportedly remain productive farmland. Described as Portugal’s first large PV installation to go online, planning for solar as a power source has been under way for some time. Piero Dal Maso, co-CEO of Catavento said, “This landmark project culminates years of administrative and regulatory efforts in our strategy to implement a large solar project in Portugal.” PowerLight’s PowerTracker, an efficient and reliable solar power system for large-scale power plants, uses the company’s patented tracking technology to follow the sun, generating more electricity than fixed-mount systems. With no fuel costs or emissions, the Serpa solar installation will produce electricity sufficient to power 8,000 homes and save more than 30,000 tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions. Catavento Lda is a private, independent Portuguese renewable energy company, and has developed 110 MW in Portugal and 225 MW in Brazil since 2001. It owns and operates 9.2 MW of wind energy and has plans to build another 40 MW in wind projects this year.
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