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Portugal builds world's biggest solar plant

11-megawatt sun trap

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Portugal has started work on what will be the world's biggest solar power plant - a 52,000 photovoltaic module, 11-megawatt facility covering a 60-hectare south-facing hillside in the southern Alentejo region.

According to the BBC, the cost of the monster 'leccy factory is €58m - or £40m in old money - for which the Portuguese will get enough juice for 8,000 homes.

The project is funded by General Electric Energy Financial Services who've provided the cash for indigenous renewable energy power company Catavento's eco-friendly initiative.

Catavento's Piero Dal Maso declared: "The Serpa solar power project, along with other renewable energy initiatives, helps lay the foundation for Portugal's energy future. The project takes maximum advantage of the excellent environmental conditions in Portugal for solar power."

However, and as many of you might have spotted, supplying green juice to just 8,000 homes will hardly allow Portugal to tell OPEC to take a running jump. Dal Maso admitted: "It is a drop, but we think in Portugal that it will make sense to use renewables to get away from oil issues and the dependency on energy from outside which we have in Portugal."

The plant will, once completed, have another green string to its bow: the solar panels will be mounted two metres off the ground, allowing sheep to graze the grass below in delicious shade. ®

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