Portugal’s Acciona Energy recently opened the country’s largest solar power farm, executing the construction of the project in a record time of 13 months. The solar farm covers an area of 250 hectares in the municipality of Moura (Alentejo region), near the border with Spain.
The AUD$571 million 48 MW facility will provide power to over 30,000 Portugese households; producing 93 million kWh of electricity annually and avoiding over 89,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions compared to a similar output via coal fired power generation.
The infrastructure consists of 2520 solar tracker devices measuring 13 meters long and 10.8 meters high. The solar trackers, set at a 45 degree angle, are able to rotate 240 degrees throughout the day in order to gain the maximum solar exposure.
Each of the tracking units contains either 104, 170 or 180 watt polycrystalline solar panels. In total, over 262,000 solar panels have been utilised in the installation.
The Amareleja solar farm is a big step up from Portugal’s last solar power facility, the 11 megawatt Serpa plant which opened in 2007, which consists of 52,000 solar panels.
Portugal has taken an increasingly pro-active stance when it comes to renewable energy. As recently as 2004, the country had very little solar power or wind energy capacity, but is now one of the top wind power generators in the European Union, even though it only has a population of around 10.6 million.
Given the country has the highest level of peak sun hours in the EU, it’s also expected that Portugal will also become a leader in solar power uptake in the near future.