The construction contract for the world's largest solar photovoltaic (PV) station has been won by Enron Solar, a part of the Amoco Enron group and sister company to Enron Wind Corp, marketer of Zond turbines. The plant, to be built on Crete, was initiated after a massive Greenpeace action. At 50 MW, it will be 15 times larger than any other single PV installation in the world and represents over half of the entire 1996 global sales of PV cells, says Greenpeace. The environment pressure group invited a range of companies to visit Greece to make formal proposals for solar installations as part of its action to expose government inadequacy on renewables development. After the first 5 MW tranche, 9 MW will be completed each year until 2003. Commercial operation will begin in early 1999 under a long-term contract to sell power to the state electricity utility, the Public Power Corporation. The Greek government and EU grants are expected to provide 49% of the funding. "The significance of this breakthrough is the sheer size and consequent cost reduction that breaks many conventional assumptions of the ability of solar photovoltaics," Greenpeace states. "The Crete power station redefines realistic options for core business of solar PV within fossil fuel companies." As a result of the Greenpeace campaign, Enron is also discussing other proposals throughout the Mediterranean.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol