News24

Greece plans world's largest solar park

2011-01-22 08:31

Athens - Debt-hit Greece plans to build the world's largest solar park over depleted coal mines in the northern city of Kozani, Prime Minister George Papandreou said this week.

Estimated to cost €600m and with a capacity of 200 megawatts (MW), the project's electricity output will be "greater than any other photovoltaic park operational in the world until now", Papandreou told a development event in Kozani on Thursday.

The state-run Public Power Corporation (PPC) said it would organise an international tender to find a strategic investor for the solar park, which is to be built over 520 hectares of disused company mines.

Papandreou said the project will serve as a model for the development of renewable energy and will boost employment in a country striving to stand on its feet amid a deep economic crisis.

His socialist government has sought to attract investment in renewable energy projects to offset thousands of jobs lost to a recession exacerbated by austerity measures adopted to tackle a national debt crisis.

It has also pledged to gradually shift electricity production away from lignite, a heavily polluting form of coal.

Last week Greece's unemployment rate skyrocketed to 13.5% in October 2010 from 9.8% in the same month the previous year.

The Greek economy is expected to shrink by three percent this year after two previous years of contraction.