Hanwha energized by Portuguese solar deal

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Hanwha energized by Portuguese solar deal

After rumors circulated this week that Hanwha Group was going to sell off its hotels to invest more in the photovoltaic business, the conglomerate’s solar unit signed a contract with a Portuguese solar company to build a solar plant in the European country.

Hanwha Solar Energy said yesterday it inked a contract with Martifer Solar to build a 17.6 megawatt photovoltaic power plant in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

The company has formed a consortium with Martifer to break ground on the plant by the end of this month. Martifer is one of a number of global solar firms conducting numerous photovoltaic projects not only in Europe, but also North America and Africa.

The plant is expected to provide about 33 gigawatts per hour for 8,800 Portuguese households every year from the end of this year.

Since Portugal is highly dependent on renewable energy and systematic regulations, Hanwha considers the latest contract a significant step toward tapping into the European renewable energy market.

Unlike other countries, Portugal grants approval for foreign energy companies strictly, Hanwha said. The government even provides subsidies for those investing in the energy business.

Despite external pressure to cut subsidies for renewable energy due to the ongoing euro zone crisis, the Portuguese government maintains its investments in solar energy.

Hanwha wants to tap into the solar energy market in order to prepare its advance into the European market. It currently runs a six megawatt solar plant in Rovigo, northern Italy.

By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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