Spain: Gehrlicher aims at PV without FITs

In order to realise the huge project, Gehrlicher Solar España has signed an agreement with the regional government of Extremadura, an Autonomous Community in the southwest of Spain, near the border of Portugal.

Gehrlicher announced its plan to develop the project in about three years and will start construction in the second half of 2013. The company aims to be finished by 2015.

Extremadura’s President Jose Antonio Monagas expressed support for the project on the administrative level and is expecting more than 2,000 jobs to be created during the construction phase. After completion, about one hundred workers will be needed for permanent maintenance.

The plant is located in the municipality of Talavàn in the Cacerés province – according to Gehrlicher, a region with one of the highest levels of solar radiation in Europe. It will cover 750 hectares and involve an investment estimated at €250 million. The generation of electricity is expected to be 400 million kilowatt-hours a year.

According to Gehrlicher Solar España President Guillermo Barrea, the project shows that the solar industry can indeed be competitive without any subsidies, and this can be achieved outside of Spain too. With the assistance of Extremadura, the plant will contribute significantly "to the renaissance of the PV industry in Spain". Barrea told Spanish media that there are external investors who want to be part of the project.

Gehrlicher aims to sell the generated solar electricity directly to the market, either to the pool or a company. A Gehrlicher spokeswoman told pv magazine that the company will develop more solar projects in Spain that will aim to operate profitably without a feed-in-tariff. "But it is too early to disclose details," she said.