Europe’s bright future

Solar plant will generate enough power for 17,000 European homes

The Italian government gave its final approval last week to Missouri-based MEMC Electronics Materials Inc. to build Europe’s largest solar plant in northeastern Italy.

MEMC announced that its solar power subsidiary, SunEdison, received permission to build a 72-megawatt plant near Rovigo, Italy, that would begin generating power in the second half of the year. The plant would be fully operational by the end of 2010, according to The Associated Press.

During its first year of operation, the plant is expected to generate enough power for more than 17,000 European homes. According to MEMC, producing that much energy in other ways could have caused the release of the equivalent of 8,000 cars’ worth of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Europe’s current largest solar plant is a 60-megawatt facility located in Olmedilla, Spain.