The world’s largest photovoltaic solar power plant will be built by the French energy giant EDF. The company hopes to open the plant by 2012, being located at an abandoned NATO air base (415 hectare site in Toul-Rosieres, near the eastern city of Metz).
The solar power plant will be able to generate 143 megawatts, enough to power a town with 62,000 people. In the meantime, the biggest photovoltaic plant now active is situated at Olmedilla in Spain and is generating 60 megawatts. Several much larger plants are under construction in Australia and United States.
Toul-Rosieres will quadruple nuclear-dependent France’s photovoltaic power output, but still leave it far behind sunny Germany and Spain, which produce 1,505 MW and 1,671 MW respectively. The EDF officials said that it was very hard to find a location in France that could store huge arrays of solar panels needed to produce a viable amount of energy. “We’re hunting all the time, everywhere. In Toul-Rosieres the advantage is that the site is available straight away.”
When the plant will be ready, it will employ 15 permanent staff. For the moment 150 people are involved in building the plant. They must to remove asbestos from around 100 abandoned military structures.