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Athens got the biggest airport photovoltaic park in the world

28 September 2011 / 16:09:13  GRReporter
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The Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens has its own photovoltaic park of today, which is the largest airport photovoltaic park in the world. The impressive facility will supply up to 9 per cent of the energy needs of the airport and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 10,000 t. "The idea of ​​the photovoltaic park appeared in 2002 for the first time. In 2004, we opened a small experimental photovoltaic area with capacity 7500 kWh to the metro station. In 2006, we started exploring the possibilities for construction and decided to build the park. In June 2007, we applied for a permit. The permit took 18 months and the construction of the facility - less than 6. You should make the conclusions for yourself," said the Executive Manager of the airport complex Yannis Parashis.

He stressed that Eleftherios Venizelos is not a traditional type of airport and it does not depend solely on airline traffic. It is one of the few airports in the world, which has its own recycling factory processing 20,000 tons of rubbish. The European Commission and the international airport organization ACI awarded the Athens International Airport for its environmental policy.

The investment in the photovoltaic park is worth € 20 million and came from the airport funds without any state subsidy. The facility is expected to bring 3% profit. It consists of 28,700 solar panels and 6 power transformers and the construction bears the signature of the Greek private company Biosar, specialized in construction and maintenance of photovoltaic systems.

Biosar is part of the group Ellaktor. It made the photovoltaic park in Larisa with capacity of 10 mWh and two photovoltaic parks in Greece with capacity of 7.5 and 5 mWh. The company is building such facilities in Bulgaria and Italy. In Bulgaria, it made the 4-mWh photovoltaic park in the city of Silistra and it is currently building another park in the same city of 16-mWh capacity. The American Enterprise Fund AEC commissioned both projects.

"The truth is that bureaucracy in Bulgaria and Greece is equally great, though of a different type. However, things were a little faster in Bulgaria still," told GRReporter Edward Sarantopoulos, CEO of Biosar. He said there is less bureaucracy in 2010 and 2011 and obtaining building permits was easier. "Unfortunately, the problem now is investment. Any investment fund we are working with depends largely on loans from the domestic banking system and if it has a problem with liquidity... Fortunately, the sun will always shine in Greece and this is the reason to be optimistic," he added.

The Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change George Papaconstantinou cut the ribbon of the modern facility and did not miss the opportunity to stress that renewable energy is a priority of the socialist government. "Renewable energy sources with capacity of 300 mWh started operating in the first six months of 2011 in Greece and their total capacity already is 1 GWh. With this pace, I am sure we will go beyond the targets set for 2020," he said. The Minister of Environment considers it very possible Greece to export about 20 GWh solar energy for the countries of Northern Europe in the coming years.

Tags: Photovoltaic parkAthens airportBiosarBureaucracyRenewable energy sources
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