Italy to Host Europe's Largest Solar Plant

Plant will produce 62 megawatts

Europe's most powerful solar power plant is set to start operations in Italy later this year, SunEdison said on March 11.

The plant in Rovigo near Venice in northeast Italy will take up 9.15 million square feet and produce 72 megawatts, SunEdison said announcing the start of construction.

The current biggest plant in Europe, located in Spain, produces 60 megawatts and the second biggest, in Germany, 50 megawatts, SunEdison said.

"The photovoltaic park in Rovigo province is a milestone in the development and establishment of solar energy in Italy," said SunEdison's general manager for Italy, Liborio Francesco Nanni.

The total investment will be between $273 million and $342 million.

Energy production will begin in the second half of 2010 and the plant will be fully operational by the end of the year. SunEdison is working on the project in conjunction with Spanish banking giant Santander.

During its first year of operations, the plant will cover the electricity needs of 17,000 households and will prevent the emission of 41,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

SunEdison, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, is the top solar power company in the United States and the third biggest in the world.

Italy is second to Germany for solar power production in Europe.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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