France expands beyond nuclear, taps big solar

giant-pv-array-usFrance is building what will be the world’s largest solar power plant, producing 143 megawatts of power, according to an AFP (Agence France-Presse) story on

The plant is being built by a green-energy subsidiary of the French energy company EDF called EDF-EN. It is being constructed on a 1,025 acre former NATO air force base at Toul-Rosieres in eastern France.

EDF plans to have the plant up and running in 2012.

The plant would produce more than double the wattage of the current largest solar power plant, in Olmedilla, Spain which pumps out 60 megawatts.

The 143 megawatt plant will produce enough energy to power 62,000 homes and, whe it goes online, will quadruple France’s solar energy output.

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France is lagging behind Spain and Germany in producing solar power. Spain is home to eight of the top 20 largest solar power plants in the world, Germany home to six.

EDF-EN will pay the government one million euro ($1.36 million) per year to use the abandoned NATO facility.

In October 2007, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced an initiative to address sustainable development and environmental issues called Grenelle Environnement.

At the end of 2008, France pledged to increase its solar power use by 400 times in the next 12 years, according to a story on

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