Solar success in Europe30th Dec 2011
As the year draws to a close, several European countries have announced some major solar achievements.
The fourth phase of Europe's largest solar park has been completed, with Vienna-based company Activ Solar GmbH commissioning the fifth and final phase of the project.
Located in Crimea, Ukraine, the Perovo Solar Power Station is comprised of 440,000 crystalline silicon PV modules connected by 1,500 km of cable and installed over an area of 200 hectares.
The site is expected to produce approximately 106,000 megawatt hours of clean electricity - enough to meet the needs of up to 22,000 households - and the plant will help to offset more than 105,000 tons of carbon emissions.
"The completion of the Perovo project is a major achievement for Activ Solar as our largest to-date and is a testament to our structuring and execution capabilities in a challenging global economic environment," Activ Solar founder and CEO Kaveh Ertefai said.
"We are proud of the quality of the work accomplished and the dedication of our team to deliver this successful outcome within a short period of time."
Perovo is Activ's second record-setting PV plant in Crimea, replacing the 80 megawatt Ohotnikovo Solar Power Station as the largest plant in central and eastern Europe.
The success has also flowed on to Germany, with a solar panel producers lobby group announcing that the country had raised electricity output by 60 percent in the past 12 months.
Totalling 18 billion kilowatt hours, solar power now contributes to more than 3 percent of power output volumes in Germany.
According to lobby group Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (BSW) the sector already produced enough power to supply some 5.1 million households.
"Solar energy has become an indispensable ingredient of a successful energy strategy shift," BSW managing director Carsten Koernig said in a statement yesterday (December 29).
Koernig says that the solar industry stands by its commitments to cut costs for consumers, who have already seen a price decrease of 50 percent since 2007.
Data from energy association BDEW indicates that solar panel installations was the fastest growing segment amongst renewable energy power sources in 2011.
This comes despite unfavourable weather conditions according to experts, Reuters reported, with those in the industry believing that production in the sector remains somewhat volatile and unsustainable without further support.
Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar correspondent