The solar revolution starts in Amareleja

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The Independent Online









The Alentejo region enjoys more sunlight each year than any other place in Europe. So it's here, in south-east Portugal, that an immense solar power station has been set up, producing more energy than any other in the world. This plant alone meets the needs of 30,000 Portuguese homes.

Traditionally a farming area, now ravaged by desertification, the area round Moura aspires to be Europe's test site for economic development via the renewable energies sector. When the company Acciona bought this project, local institutions thrashed out an agreement with them under which the company funds a development fund for the region.



A micro-generation generator has been installed on the roof of a school. These solar panels enable the building to be self-sufficient in terms of energy. The mayor of Moura negotiated Acciona's investment plan. Fifteen per cent of the inhabitants here – 1,000 people – are unemployed.



José Maria Pos-de-Mina, Mayor of Moura: "About 20 small installations like these have been set up already. We aim to have 60 of them by the end of the year. That boosts the creation of specialised companies installing these kind of products and developing other sectors. Our primary goal is to reduce unemployment. Our aim and our dream is to create 500 new jobs."



So far, 120 jobs have been created. Most of those who've been hired work here, in the factory that was set up at the same time as the power station. The factory manufactures solar panels.



Forty-five per cent of Portugal's electricity is produced via renewable energies. The goal is to boost that to 60% by 2020.

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