A solar power plant described by its operators as the biggest in the world began generating electricity at the site of a former East German air base on Sunday, June 22.
The Waldpolenz solar park
The Waldpolenz Solar Park is built on a surface area equivalent to 200 soccer fields, the solar park will be capable of feeding 40 megawatts into the power grid when fully operational in 2009.
In the start-up phase, the 130-million-euro ($201 million) plant it will have a capacity of 24 megawatts, according to the Juwi group, which operates the installation.
The facility, located east of Leipzig, uses state-of-the-art, thin-film technology. Some 550,000 thin-film modules will be used, of which 350,000 have already been installed. The direct current produced in the photovoltaic solar modules will be converted into alternating current and fed completely into the power grid.
After just a year the solar power station will have produced the energy needed to build it, according to the Juwi group.
The eastern part of Germany is one of the forerunners of solar energy in the country. Three of the world's 50 biggest solar parks are located near Leipzig.
A solar plant due to be completed in California by 2011 will have a capacity of 80 megawatts - double that of Waldpolenz.
EU leaders have gathered in Brussels for a summit in which they hope to agree a long-term strategy on Russia. The leaders were also expected to back an investment plan aimed at spurring growth in the 28-member bloc.
The Russian currency has plummeted dramatically in recent days. Now European carmakers have suspended deliveries to their showrooms in Russia while they consider price adjustments.
The Portuguese government has invoked extraordinary measures to prevent TAP national airline staff from striking in the busy Christmas period. It imposed a labor requisition to avoid major disruptions for travelers.