Name a sunny, financially-broke region filled with antiquities that could really use a solar miracle and an economic boost.
If you answered Los Angeles, that's wrong. We're talking about Greece. The country.
Greece just unveiled an audacious plan to make the country a haven for the installation of solar systems with a robust interconnection to the rest of the continent. Debt-laden Greece would lease out state land to investors in order to generate cash.
Greece's Environment Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou said the plan would cost approximately $28 billion for a targeted capacity of 10 gigawatts of solar power generation, according to an article in ekathimerini covering the Minister's speech at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Hamburg, Germany this week. A Reuters article laid out the timeline for "Project Helios" as 2.2 gigawatts by 2020 and 10 gigawatts by 2050 with Greece eventually becoming an exporter of renewable energy.
Papaconstantinou said that return on investment would be more rapid because of Greece's strong sun and that the government would speed installation by easing licensing obstacles.
According to The Helenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, Greece had 150 megawatts of solar installed in 2010 and expects that to double that in 2011. The country has some of the highest feed-in-tariffs in the world.