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European Solar Dispatch: Brimming with Potential

Posted 28 August 2013 12:57 AM by Stefan Degener

Even as the last containers were shipped from Munich, Germany, marking the end of InterSolar Europe, it was apparent that Europe remains upbeat. If the numbers are anything to go by - over 50,000 visitors, including a significant First Solar delegation, from 150 countries - the industry, and the region, continues to brim with potential.

Importantly, the event also saw a longstanding First Solar partner, BELECTRIC, take home the 2013 Intersolar Award in the Solar Projects category for its ground-mounted solar power plant in Templin, Brandenburg. The recently inaugurated plant, constructed on the site of a Cold War-era military base, is designed to generate more than 120 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, sufficient enough to power as many as 36,000 households, while saving approximately 90,000 tons of carbon dioxide. With over 1.5 million First Solar modules, the facility is Europe’s largest thin-film photovoltaic (PV) power plant.

In many ways, Templin exemplifies the potential for solar power in Europe: it is an excellent example of how land, previously thought to be unusable, can be repurposed to support the generation of clean, solar electricity; it also demonstrates how solar power can positively impact on all three aspects of the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit; and finally, it illustrates the success of Germany’s Energiewende, a concerted effort to evolve into a sustainable economy powered by renewable energy.

From a First Solar perspective, Templin provides yet another opportunity to showcase the effectiveness of our thin-film modules, which already form the backbone of utility-scale solar energy projects across Europe. There is no doubt in my mind that First Solar’s defined cost reduction roadmap, greater efficiencies and, consequently, a lower Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) will continue to energize our efforts to tap into the region’s potential.

As we continue to actively build on the track record of our utility-scale PV systems and on our partnerships, while also exploring new opportunities in a variety of European markets, there is a palpable sense of excitement that is not unlike what we experienced at InterSolar Europe or in our conversations with our partners and customers.

Belectric First Solar Group
WINNING TEAM: First Solar joined its partners, BELECTRIC and SMA, in celebrating InterSolar’s recognition of the Templin project. (From left) Christopher Burghardt (Vice President of Business Development for EMEA, First Solar), Georges Antoun (Chief Operating Officer, First Solar), Marko Werner (Chief Sales Officer, SMA), Bernhard Beck (Chief Executive Officer, BELECTRIC), Raffi Garabedian (Chief Technology Officer, First Solar), Jeanette Klockgether (Vice President Sales Overseas, SMA), Stefan Degener (Managing Director, First Solar GmbH), Martin Zembsch (Chief Sales Officer, BELECTRIC).

Stefan Degener is First Solar’s Director of Business Development for Europe.