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EnBW to build Germany’s largest PV park in East German lignite state

Energy supplier EnBW has given the green light to build Germany’s largest solar park in the eastern state of Brandenburg. EnBW will build its 180 megawatt Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park on an area covering 164 hectares, and said the energy generated will be used to supply around 50,000 households. “The size of this solar park will give us a powerful boost in the expansion of our renewable energy portfolio,” said EnBW Chief Technical Officer Hans-Josef Zimmer. EnBW plans the solar park and its 465,000-odd solar modules to be operational before the end of 2020. EnBW will not be entitled to renewables support, as this is limited to solar parks of a capacity of up to 10 megawatts. “We are convinced that major solar parks of this size can be operated economically without funding,” said Zimmer.

Once a global technology leader, Germany’s solar sector has suffered from increased competition abroad and declining expansion rates at home in recent years. But changes in trade regimes, development of power storage and innovations from research labs offer hope for a revival of solar and its key role in Germany’s Energiewende. The world’s largest solar parks, sometimes with a combined capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts, can be found in sun-richer countries, such as India, China and Morocco. The federal state of Brandenburg is home to Germany’s two main lignite mining areas and faces significant structural change due to decision to phase-out coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest.

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