There are now 52,000 photovoltaic panels spread across the Portuguese hillside in the town of Serpa, one of Europe’s sunniest areas, about 200km southeast of Lisbon. A joint project between GE Energy Financial Services, PowerLight (SunPower Corporation), and Catavento, the 11 MW power plant is the size of 80 football fields. The project will save more than 30,000 tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions compared to equivalent fossil fuel generation.
Portugal is known for having some of the most advanced incentives for renewable energy in the world. These policies have been implemented in part as a response to the country’s rising CO2 emissions which have increased 34% since 1990, among the fastest rates in the world. The Serpa project was made possible through a special government tariff.
Prime Minister Jose Socrates has said he wants 45% of Portugal’s power consumption to come from renewable energy by 2010.