Renewables, Solar

GE and Powerlight plan world’s biggest solar power plant in Portugal

27 April 2006 – GE Energy Financial Services, PowerLight Corporation and Catavento Lda announced today that they would build the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power project. The 11 MW solar power plant, comprising 52 000 photovoltaic modules, will be built at a single site in Serpa, Portugal, 200 km (124 miles) southeast of Lisbon in one of Europe’s sunniest areas.

GE Energy Financial Services will finance and own the facility in a $75m transaction. PowerLight, a global solar power system provider will operate and maintain this solar power plant employing the company’s PowerTracker system.

Catavento, a leading Portuguese renewable energy company, developed the project and will provide management services.

Material deliveries have begun, and construction will commence in May. The project – on a 60-hectare (150-acre) southern-facing hillside that will remain productive farmland – is scheduled for full power operation by
January 2007.

“This investment is a major step for GE Energy Financial Services not only because this is the world’s largest solar photovoltaic plant but also because it’s our first solar power project in Europe and puts us close to the $1bn mark in our global renewable energy portfolio,” said Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy
Financial Services.

Andrew Marsden, Managing Director of GE Energy Financial Services’ European Operations, added: “This landmark solar project will make a material contribution to Portugal’s solar power generation target which forms part of its strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For us, this investment underscores our strategy to invest in high-quality renewable energy projects in Europe in supportive
regulatory regimes such as Portugal’s. The Serpa project will take our European renewable energy portfolio to a total of 177 MW.”

PowerLight’s PowerTracker is the world’s most widely used solar power system for large-scale power plants because of its efficiency and reliability. The company’s patented tracking technology follows the sun as it moves across the sky throughout the day, generating more electricity than conventional fixed-mount systems.