Portugal Opens 11-MW Solar Power Plant – DailyTech.com: Portugal is doing its part to invest in renewable energy with the dedication of a new 11-megawatt (MW) solar plant. The plant, which is located in Serpa, is one of the largest solar arrays in the world and can supply enough electricity for 8,000 households.

The solar plant was built by Catavento, a Portuguese renewable energy company and California based PowerLight Corporation, a GE Energy Financial Services subsidiary. It occupies roughly 150 acres in Portugal’s Alentejo region and contains over 52,000 photovoltaic modules manufactured by Sanyo, Sharp, SunPower and Suntech. The solar plant is also said to reduce CO2 emissions by 13,000 tons per year.



  1. Miguel Correia says:

    Personally, I think this is a great way to go in our energetic strategy. As a Portuguese, I am extremely happy with this news.

  2. Trikitraki says:

    What a sad story, so much farmland wasted on such a crackpot endeavour. Nuclear power is the way to go, there’s no other valid choice. Wind generators are also as hopeless.

  3. Sounds the Alarm says:

    And we have all that desert! (sigh)

    Africa could clean up.

  4. James Hill says:

    In all seriousness…

    Why isn’t there a real commercial effort behind getting these panels on the roofs of homes? Assuming it doesn’t mess up my satellite dish, I’ve got plenty of room for one.

  5. @$tr0Gh0$t says:

    You might have the room for solar panels, but do you have the money to afford them? At US$4,000 per panel, your costs can climb up really fast. An that’s for a panel with 10% efficiency.

  6. Misanthropic Scott says:

    #2 – Trikitraki,

    Thanks for that incredibly insightful post filled with data supporting your position. In fact, every minute of every day, enough sunlight hits the planet to power the entire United States for a year. Granted, it may be impossible to tap all of that. However, look at the ratio of 525600 to 1 for the U.S. Even if you extrapolate to the rest of the world and subtract out the 70% that is ocean, I think it is clear that this is a viable and important energy source.

    Nuclear power, on the other hand, is far more expensive than oil, gas, or coal, especially when you figure in the huge governmental subsidies. And, unlike solar, this is a relatively mature technology that is unlikely to see huge cost gains. Further, we have no good way to dispose of the waste.

    Most importantly though for nuclear power, we need on the order of 25 times the current number of plants to start making a significant difference. These will not all be in developed democratic nations. We have no way to ensure that the plants will not produce material for weapons. Nor do we have a good way to secure existing plants from terrorism.

    Wind is already on par with oil, gas, and coal for price. Solar is close. There is another big solar farm near Las Vegas. Tidal generators have just finished up a test period in New York City and will be increased from 2 to 6 turbines in the near future with hundreds planned for the longer term.

    I think nuclear is not the way to go at present.

  7. Gregory says:

    What is really exciting are the new solar cell developments – thinner, much cheaper to produce, don’t rely on silicon, and are about 10x as efficient.

    Granted we won’t see them for 5+ years.. but that’s really exciting.

    The true point though is that no one energy source can replace the multiple ones we use now. Just like we just Coal, Oil, and Nukes, we’ll use tidal, solar, and wind – maybe even Geothermal.

    There is no reason to think that this won’t be viable, there is just no push for it now, which is sad.

    And #2 – Nukes have so many issues that it’s crazy to present them as an alternative. Just the waste alone is enough of an issue to remove them from the running…

  8. Miguel says:

    #2 – That part of our country isn’t really very fertile – it has always been very dry, and it’s been getting dryer for the past 30 years, at the very least. It’s the northernmost boundary of the desertification area that’s been spreading from North Africa for decades now.

    While I’m really surprised to see good news coming from my little corner of the world (would you believe that since I don’t watch TV, listen to radio or read newspapers, DU is where I learned about this?), I’m very skeptical about anything ‘revolutionary’ happening in Portugal. I hope the usual doesn’t happen, ie, that this is just a ‘political’ project, created for some politico to show off how ‘ecological’ , ‘Al-Gore-y’ and ‘modern’ he/she is, and that more projects like this keep coming.

    Because if it is like it’s always been, this will be the first and the last solar farm we’ll see. Much fanfare all over the world. Ends met for the politicos. End of story. It may yet become an abandoned facility! I’m a 40 yo, I’ve seen a bit of shit here… There’s only 10 millions of us, but we make a lot of it, and when somebody does anything right, someone else will come to take the trophy and say ‘aren’t we so great?’

    Now, I hope this country takes a lead, even if *very* late, in the renewable energy field. We’ve got TONS of sunshine, winds galore, more tides and waves than you can shake a stick at.

    And what have we been doing these past decades? Zilch.

    But I’m not optimistic. This is a feudal/aristocratic/authoritarian/pseudo-democratic/crypto-fascist country, after all (don’t you love all these words? I invented them myself :). All that is required is that the Lords’s ends be met.

  9. Sounds The Alarm says:

    There’s nothing wrong with Nuc energy – Japan and France prove that.

    Storage, transport and disposal with the waste is the biggest issue. A place like yucca mountain, BUT under the water table would work out fine.

    Terrorists are an issue as well, but I would make the supposition that an LNG tanker would be worse than a dirty bomb – and might be equivalent to a small nuke.

  10. Andy says:

    There is a problem with Nuc power… disposing of the waste.

  11. Sounds The Alarm says:

    #10 – you didn’t read my post.

  12. BubbaRay says:

    Whatever happened to the idea for orbital solar collectors that generate microwaves to beam the power into new grid infrastructures into unpopulated areas such as Death Valley, Sahara, etc. ? Oh, that’s right, money. As in Exxon, BP, TXU,…..

    99.99% of the energy available on Earth comes from the sun, whether it’s coal, peat, oil, wave power, wind power, and so on. The rest is from the Earth’s core and radioactive ores. Makes sense to tap the sun. Dyson sphere, anyone?

  13. JoaoPT says:

    As a Portuguese I’m also somewhat pleased with this news.

    I just don’t think solar cell is the way! Just look at the picture.
    All the fields around those panels are collecting solar power too…
    Yes, vegetation does it a lot better and also gives a nice byproduct: Oxygen!
    We need to produce better energy gathering plants, by genetic engineering. Ones that are more resilient and can adapt to every micro climate. And also develop better ways to transform those into some kind of fuel.

  14. bs says:

    #5 At US$4,000 per panel…..

    Huh?

    http://www.wholesalesolar.com
    Kyocera KC 130TM
    1101300
    130 watts
    17.6volts
    with junction box
    $610

    Honestly, it is comments like these that give the solar naysayers just that much more ammo. Approx price to outfit a home WITHOUT gov subsidies is around 20k for a mid size system.

    http://www.solarhome.com/theintellisun.htm 28 panels for 25k, not 4k each.

    We dont see more solar on the roofs because the local utilities fight it at every opportunity.

  15. There really is no need for nuclear power in Europe because there is a simple mature technology available that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power.

    I refer to ‘concentrating solar power’ (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. This method of creating electricity from sunshine is quite different from the better-known photovoltaics (PV). And lower cost.

    It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and half a million Californians currently get their electricity from this source. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

    CSP works best in hot deserts and it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over very long distances using highly-efficient ‘HVDC’ transmission lines. With transmission losses at about 3% per 1000 km, solar electricity may, for example, be transmitted from North Africa to London with only about 10% loss of power. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by the wind energy company Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

    In the ‘TRANS-CSP’ report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. That report shows in great detail how Europe can meet all its needs for electricity, make deep cuts in CO2 emissions, and phase out nuclear power at the same time.

    Further information about CSP may be found at http://www.trec-uk.org.uk and http://www.trecers.net . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from http://www.trec-uk.org.uk/reports.htm . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at http://www.mng.org.uk/green_house/no_nukes.htm .

  16. Luís Camacho says:

    “But I’m not optimistic. This is a feudal/aristocratic/authoritarian/pseudo-democratic/crypto-fascist country, after all (don’t you love all these words?”

    Is that because Salazar won that Greatest Portuguese ever contest? 😛

  17. Miguel says:

    #16 – No, it’s because even without Salazar things are the same. People here are sheep, herded by these ‘great’ lords…

    And yes, that contest was a disgrace. Ever imagined Germany electing Hitler as the greatest German ever?

    And don’t forget the two most corrupt mayors in our country – Isaltino Morais and Teresa Felgueiras – they got re-elected! Even despite all the (proven) corruption charges against them!

    Is this a country or a farm?

  18. @$tr0Gh0$t says:

    #14 (bs), I might have been wrong in saying one panel, when in reality is three panels for £2498.00, which is US$4939.9423, you can check it out at:

    http://tinyurl.com/2a5hvj

    By the way, I live in England, so the pricing you provided is pretty much irrelevant to me.

  19. bs says:

    @$tr0Gh0$t Those are for Water Heating, not for PV use.

    Also, since the major manufacturers of PV are mostly in Germany and Asia, I don’t see how being in the US is much of a factor. In fact I would expect the prices to be MORE here, since the US lags so far behind Asia and the EU in PV adoption.

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  23. Ben Shepard says:

    I’m from the UK. The Government introduced Feed -in Tariff on 1st of April 2010. Under this scheme the UK energy suppliers make payments to householders who generate their own electricity from renewable sources such as PV panels and wind turbines. The generation tariff is a set rate paid: retro fit 41.3p (p/kwh) and new build 36.1p (p/kwh)by the energy supplier for each unit( or KWh) of electricity you generate. You will continue on this tariff for 25 years in the case of solar electricity. You can also receive a further 3p/KWH from your energy supplier for each unit you export back to the electricity grid.


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