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Portugal steps up its efforts to increase the usage of renewable energy

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.

"This project is successful because Portugal's sunshine is plentiful, the solar power technology is proven, government policies are supportive, and we are investing and delivering under GE's ecomagination initiative to help our customers meet their environmental challenges," said Kevin Walsh of GE Energy Financial Services. "Thanks to great Portuguese sunshine and high technology, this plant right here in Serpa is expected to produce the most power -- more than 20 gigawatt-hours per year."

"The Serpa solar power plant speaks to the green power initiatives now setting Europe on a course toward ambitious emissions reductions goals. By assembling a first-class team of companies in the solar arena, we've achieved a remarkable renewable energy milestone," remarked PowerLight CEO Tom Dinwoodie.

As reported last month by DailyTech, the European Union (EU) is aiming to receive 20% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020. Currently, the EU receives 6.5% of its power from renewable energy.

Portugal wants to significantly improve on those figures before the 2020 deadline. Portugal's Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, has proclaimed that his country will receive 45% of its power from renewable sources within 3 years.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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