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Large-Scale Solar Deployment Picks Up in Spain

September 14, 2020


Solar is regaining speed in Spain after the Covid-19 crisis. Iberdrola is now building 150 MW, while Foresight recently acquired a 26.1 MW project. FRV has secured financing for a 136 MW array, Audax plans to issue green bonds to finance its pipeline, and an 800 MW solar park is expected to provide with power Alcoa’s aluminum plant in Galicia.

PV deployment has surged in Spain in recent weeks, with a number of unsubsidized large-scale projects now in development, after the market segment screeched to a halt due to the pandemic.

This week alone, several more unsubsidized projects were announced, with construction also beginning on a number of sizable solar facilities. pv magazine has summarized the latest big developments.

Iberdrola plans 150 MW

The Spanish utility has started building three 50 MW PV plants in central Spain. The Barcience project is being built in Cuenca, while the Romeral facility will be constructed in the municipality of Alarcón. The third project, Olmedilla, will be installed in the Olmedilla de Alarcón region. In addition, Iberdrola has submitted a 100 MW solar project for approval in Ciudad Real. The plant will be part of a €150 million green hydrogen project that will also include storage. Iberdrola currently has 7.5 GW of renewable energy capacity under construction in Spain.

U.K.-based investment company Foresight Group LLP has acquired a 26.1 MW solar project near Huelva, in the southern region of Andalucia, from IM2 Energía Solar for an undisclosed sum. Construction will begin immediately and the project is expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of 2021. Once completed it will generate around 50 GWh of clean electricity each year. Designed with single-axis trackers, the project has secured a 10-year power purchase agreement with Shell Energy Europe, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell.

FRV finances 138 MW

Spain-based solar developers Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), a unit of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, and French bank Natixis have closed financing on the 138 MW San Serván project. FRV plans to build it in the town of Solana de los Barros, Extremadura. The deal is the first transaction certified by the Climate Bond in Spain, and includes a €64 million loan in which Natixis is acting as underwriter and sole coordinator. FRV has signed a long-term power purchase agreement with Engie Spain on the project, the exact amount and duration of which are not yet known. The project is expected to be fully operational by 2022. Once operational, the San Serván plant will generate approximately 291 GWh of clean energy per year.

Alcoa goes solar

Liberty, a unit of U.K.-based industrial group GFG Alliance, is currently in talks with Alcoa to buy an aluminum plant that the U.S. group owns in San Ciprián, in the northern Spanish region of Galicia. It met with the factory workers’ representatives this week to discuss the potential closure of the plant. Liberty explained its plans to make San Ciprián profitable, as it has already accumulated €175 million in losses. If the month-long negotiations move forward, Liberty aims to ensure that the factory supplies electricity below market prices. It expects to do this through power purchase agreements for a 400 MW wind farm and an 800 MW solar park located at a nearby site. The company has until Sept. 28 to wrap up the acquisition of the factory, with the purchase price set at €1.

Spanish Post PPA
Spanish gas and power provider Naturgy, through its subsidiary Gas Natural Comercializadora SA, will supply electricity to Spanish Post (Grupo Correos) over the next two years, until June 30, 2022. The multinational energy company presented its best technical-economic offer in a tender. According to Naturgy, it is one of the most demanding contracts in Spain – both in terms of volume and the scope of service. All of the energy supplied by Naturgy has guarantees of origin. The contract includes the option of being extended by another two years, until June 30, 2024. Naturgy was already the energy supplier of Grupo Correos and has presented the best economic offer.
40 MW in Extremadura
Ibexia Development, Cox Energy, and Ibox Energy said this week that they will start building two new PV plants in October in Hornachos and Olivenza, in Spain’s Extremadura region. They still have yet to secure the necessary construction licenses. The facilities will have capacities of 20 MW each and are expected to generate 140 GWh of electricity per year. The investment will amount to around €35 million.
Green bonds
Audax Renovables, a subsidiary of Spanish energy producer Audax, has issued €20 million of green bonds – its first such issuance. The bonds mature in April 2022, with an annual interest rate of 2.25%, risings by 0.25% each quarter. It will use the proceeds to support the construction of eight plants, four of which will be located in Toledo (Zarzuela 1, 2, 3 and 4). It will build the other four (Alberizas 1, 2, 3 and 4) in Guadalajara.
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