With on average 300 days of sunshine per year Portugal is in a great
position to tap into the sun's natural energy, for both commercial and
Portugal is one of the leading European countries in terms of
contributions to renewable energies with an approximate 12 per cent of
total consumption coming from these sources.
Although there are many properties in Portugal which have solar
panels and solar heating systems already installed, the Portuguese
government have made it law for all new build properties in Portugal to
be fitted with solar water heaters to reduce the dependency on
traditional energy sources.
Portugal's commitment doesn't end there. In March 2007, the world's largest solar energy plant was
opened. The solar power plant is located in the Alentejo region
of Portugal, about 200 kilometres south of Lisbon.
11-megawatt solar power plant, to be made up of 52,000 photovoltaic
modules, will cover a 60-hectare (150-acre) southern-facing hillside.
The power plant cost 58 Million Euros to construct but produces enough
electricity for 8,000 homes. It is estimated this will save
approximately 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
What is Solar Energy?
|Solar energy is light and heat energy from
the sun. Solar cells convert sunlight into electrical energy. Thermal
collectors convert sunlight into heat energy. Solar technologies are
used in watches, calculators, water pumps, space satellites, for heating
water, and supplying clean electricity to the power grid. There is
enough solar radiation striking the surface of the earth to provide all
of our energy needs.
There are two main ways of using solar energy to produce electricity.
These are through the use of solar cells and solar thermal technology.
Using solar technologies to generate electricity is, at present, more
expensive than using coal-fired power stations, but it produces much