Hinterland Green

Sunday, December 27, 2009

German Billionaire Prince Albert of Thurn and Taxis Proposes World's Largest Solar Park in German State of Bavaria

German billionaire Prince Albert of Thurn and Taxis wants to build the world's largest solar farm in the German state of Bavaria. The project, estimated to cost about 115 million Euro ($171 million), could prove to be lucrative in terms of generating electricity sales for the family. There is, however, one hitch -- local resistance to the project.

The family, one of Germany's wealthiest known from the 16th to the 18th century for delivering mail, plans to build solar panels across 20.5 million square feet of land, which, Der Spiegel estimates to be equal to 280 soccer fields, in the town of Harthof, located near Straubing. The farm would reportedly provide up to 65 megawatts of peak power, making it the world's largest.
But Prinz's plan to draw power from the Bavarian sun has run into resistance from local citizens, who object to having such a large solar set up right in their backyard. Indeed, the solar farm would stretch from the Harthof border three kilometers (1.9 miles) towards the neighboring town of Alburg. "We have nothing against solar energy," Barbara Unger, mayor of Feldkirchen, told the FT Deutschland. But the concern, she added, is that the size and breadth of the solar panel project would destroy the land. "Where now the eye glides over the Gäuboden countryside, our citizens will only see a gleaming glass desert," Unger said.

Despite a petition to block the solar farm, the Straubing City Council voted to approve the project, which would bring in approximately €1 million of taxes to the city from the €18 million in annual electricity sales the House of Thurn and Taxis hopes to earn.  Source: Der Spiegel
According to Der Spiegel, the House of Thurn and Taxis dates back to 12th century Italy. During the 16th century, the family began a postal service that lasted until the 18th century. During that time, the family changed its name to Thurn and Taxis in 1650 and receiving their princely title from Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I in 1695. Since their time in the postal service, the family has owned various breweries and built several castles.

Prince Albert wants to enter a booming sector, which is aided by the sunny climate, state-guaranteed prices for green electricity, as well as rapid price declines. According to FT Deutschland (German), this year alone, the region between Landshut, Regensburg and Straubing will see about 60 new large solar farms installed, with approximately 60,000 new roof installations are being erected across Bavaria.
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