This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 14, 2006

California and Europe Dominate in Large Solar PV Projects

While solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects are now being built throughout the United States, California continues to be the U.S. leader in large PV power plants. Kyocera Solar, Inc. recently supplied solar modules for a 457-kilowatt solar installation at the Electrical Training Institute of Southern California, a higher education and advanced technology facility located in the City of Commerce, near Los Angeles. Completed in April, the solar electric system is operated jointly by the Los Angeles County Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 11. And in northern California, Fetzer Vineyards is adding a 901-kilowatt PV system to the roofs of its bottling plant and Red Wine Barrel Room. The project will be installed by 3 Phases Energy, LLC and MMA Renewable Ventures, and will supply 80 percent of the bottling plant's electricity needs. Fetzer has long been a leader in renewable energy, having installed a 40-kilowatt PV system and bought 100 percent green power back in 1999. See the press releases from Kyocera Solar and MMA Renewable Ventures (PDF 26 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

Despite California's leadership, we have to look to Europe to see the true record-breaking PV systems. On June 6th, GE Energy Financial Services, PowerLight Corporation, and Catavento Lda broke ground in Serpa, Portugal, on the world's largest PV power project, an 11-megawatt solar power plant . And voltwerk AG of Germany has commissioned SunTechnics GmbH to build a 1.7-megawatt PV power plant in the Bavarian town of Mering. The power plant will be built with thin-film solar technology, making it one of the largest thin-film solar power plants in the world, if not the largest. See the press releases from PowerLight and voltwerk.