Spain has overtaken the US as the biggest solar electricity generator in the world.

The opening of the new La Florida solar plant at Alvarado, Badajoz, in the west of the country, takes Spain’s solar output to 432 megawatts, compared with the US output of 422 megawatts.

The La Florida plant produces 50 megawatts of power with a parabolic trough system covering 550,000 square metres.

Protermosolar, the association that represents Spain’s solar energy sector, says that within a year another 600 megawatts will have come on-stream and that by 2013 solar capacity will have reached 2,500 megawatts..

Spain is also one of the world’s leading producers of wind power, with windfarms producing around 20,000 megawatts of electricity, and the third largest producer of hydro-electricity, after China and the US.